* Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, urged U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to open a public comment period on the proposed conditional approval of the merger of T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. Cicilline accused the FCC chairman of rushing to approve the potential merger, a deal the legislator called "presumptively illegal" under prior standards. Even with regulators' proposed conditions, Cicilline said the merger is likely to harm consumers through "higher phone bills, less choice, fewer jobs, and worse wages."
* Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit against virtualization company Corellium LLC over alleged copyright infringement, TechCrunch reports, citing court documents. Corellium allows its customers to interact with browser-based software versions of the iPhone. Apple is calling for Corellium to halt use of its iOS virtualization, which Apple says runs actual iOS firmware, and to pay damages and lost profits to the iPhone maker.
* Netflix Inc. is having a challenging 2019, with below-guidance subscriber growth, controversial show cancellations, and the loss of popular content such as "Friends." This has some analysts questioning the company's strategy amid growing competition.
* The FCC's Enforcement Bureau fined some U.S. TV and radio outlets about $600,000 over the misuse of emergency alert system or wireless emergency alert tones. The agency found that the alert tones were aired during episodes of ABC (US)' "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," AMC (US) show "The Walking Dead" and Discovery Inc.'s "Lone Star Law," in addition to promos aired by Meruelo Radio Holdings LLC's Los Angeles-area KDAY and KDEY-FM's morning radio show.
Internet & OTT
* The White House is reportedly working on a draft executive order that would call on select federal agencies to create and apply new rules around how online platforms moderate content, but technology law experts said successful implementation of such an order would face long odds. The order, a draft of which was viewed by various media outlets, would also reportedly enlist the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to consider the new policies when it considers filing lawsuits against "misbehaving" companies.
* Twitter Inc. led a $100 million funding round in Indian social media network ShareChat, TechCrunch reports, citing a company statement. Other investors include TrustBridge Partners, as well as existing investors Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Saif Capital LLC, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital.
* Facebook Inc. is facing a lawsuit from users over a 2018 security breach that exposed information on nearly 50 million users, after hackers exploited a weakness in the platform's coding. According to the court filing, the social media company allegedly failed to warn users about risks of using a single sign-on, Reuters reports.
* Instagram is adding a feature that would allow users to report posts that are potentially false, Reuters reports. Posts that are tagged as false will not appear on Instagram's Explore tab and hashtag search results.
* AOL had held talks to acquire YouTube LLC and Facebook in 2006, and looked into acquiring a minority stake in Tencent Holdings Ltd., but did not get support from the then-Time Warner Inc., former AOL CEO Jon Miller told CNBC. Time Warner, which was later acquired by AT&T Inc. and is now called Warner Media LLC, spun off AOL in 2009.
* U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to provide information in relation to the recent revelation that the social media company had transcribed private audio conversations from its users. In a written request, Peters stated that the accuracy of the recent reports makes Zuckerberg's previous testimony to the U.S. Congress incomplete.
* Google LLC's YouTube updated its manual claiming policies to stop copyright owners from using monetizing creator videos with very short or unintentional uses of music. The updated policy will only impact claims made via the manual claiming tool and not the ones created by the Content ID match system.
* Research and analytics company Screen Engine/ASI has acquired movie ticketing platform ticktBox for an undisclosed amount, Variety reports. The transaction will allow Screen Engine to have access to a database of about 5 million of active moviegoers in the U.S. and Canada.
* Dell Technologies Inc. and AT&T Inc. are working together on an initiative related to open source edge computing and 5G software infrastructure. Under the partnership, the companies will work to accelerate open source technologies supporting Dell infrastructure within AT&T's Network Cloud and to offer open source automation capabilities, among other initiatives.
* North America's wearable band market has reached the $2 billion value in the second quarter of 2019, attributable to the growth in smartwatch sales, according to research firm Canalys. Shipments during the period rose by 38% at 7.7 million units.
* Creative Artists Agency LLC veteran David Messinger has joined Activision Blizzard Inc. as the company's corporate-wide chief marketing officer, Variety reports. Messinger will report to Coddy Johnson, the company's president and COO.
* Mitchell Reichgut is stepping down as CEO of Jun Group Productions LLC and will be replaced by COO and President Corey Weiner, TechCrunch reports. In relation to the new executive moves, Mishel Alon will become the company's COO.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.94% to 25,734.22, and the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.06% to 20,418.81.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.65% to 7,112.80, and the Euronext 100 was up 1.20% to 1,029.76.
On the macro front
The housing starts report, the quarterly services report, the consumer sentiment report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
The Daily Dose Europe: Netflix expansion; Spotify price test; Disney's Sky hire: Netflix is opening offices in Paris and Berlin, while Spotify Technology SA is testing a more expensive version of its streaming service in the Nordics and Walt Disney Co. hired a Europe and Africa manager for its streaming service Disney+.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Streaming tax in South Korea; SoftBank's US$110M investment; Alibaba's growth: The South Korean government is conducting a review of streaming platforms, SoftBank Vision Fund LP invested US$110 million in energy storage startup Energy Vault, and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. appears to have been sheltered from the fallout of a trade war with the U.S.
'The Crown' season 3 gets premiere date; HBO Max, BBC Three order 'Starstruck': Netflix has set a premiere date for the third season of "The Crown," while AT&T's upcoming streaming service HBO Max and BBC Three have commissioned a six-part comedy "Starstruck."
Hires and Fires: AMC Networks realigns studio oversight; Oculus co-founder exits Facebook: AMC Networks Inc. is integrating AMC Studios into its Entertainment Networks Group unit, while Oculus VR LLC co-founder Nate Mitchell is leaving Facebook.
Hires and Fires Europe: Disney hires Sky executive; Mediapro names chief of French unit: Disney hired Sky Ltd. executive Luke Bradley-Jones to run its streaming service Disney+ in Europe and Africa, while Spanish broadcaster Mediapro appointed Julien Bergeaud director general of its French unit.
Economics of Internet: State of South Korean OTT video: subscription: We estimate the Korean subscription over-the-top video market will continue to grow at an approximate 19% CAGR between 2019 and 2023 in both subscriptions and revenue.
Consumer Insights: Less than half of surveyed US households use EST/transactional VOD: Google (YouTube and Play Store) and Amazon Video are the most popular electronic sell-through and transactional video-on-demand services, according to data from Kagan's U.S. MediaCensus survey, fielded in February 2019.
Global Multichannel: Viacom prepares international rollout of Pluto TV: Viacom Inc. plans to roll out ad-supported video-on-demand platform Pluto TV in key markets outside the U.S. to extend its global presence.
Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Taiwan: Kagan's updated Global Multichannel and Broadband analyses project the growth of Taiwan's multichannel market will remain relatively flat while MOD's subscriber base will grow moderately.
Multichannel Trends: July 2019 cable TV financing snapshot: The cable TV financing snapshot table lists monthly totals for cable industry public and private debt, and equity and stock buybacks from a historical range of years to the present.
Economics of Networks: Home shopping networks still big business in US: Analysis of second-quarter earnings results from home shopping network owner Qurate Retail Inc. reveals weakness.
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