* Verizon Communications Inc. earlier this year unveiled a new phone service, called Visible, for $40 a month, TechCrunch.com reports. Users who download the Visible app will get unlimited data, messages and minutes, according to its website.
* Amazon.com Inc. is no longer buying shopping ads from Google Inc., Bloomberg News reports, citing sources. The ads allow companies to advertise right at the top of Google search results.
* As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to review the proposed merger of T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., comments from current and former commissioners indicate stark divisions over how to think about wireless competition. Under former President Barack Obama, regulators at both the U.S. Justice Department and the FCC made clear their view that a four-player market is best for competition.
* AMC Networks Inc., which opened 2018 with a high-single-digit advertising decline tied to audience erosion and reduced the number of original episodes, is expecting sequential improvement in the second quarter and a healthy upfront selling season. Despite higher pricing, ad revenues declined 8.8% to $226 million during the three months ended March 31, a decrease that CFO Sean Sullivan said on the company's May 10 earnings call was anticipated in part due to fewer episodes of AMC (US)'s zombie franchise "The Walking Dead" and companion show, "Talking Dead," coupled with "some delivery pressures."
Internet & OTT
* Facebook Inc. bought rights to a soccer drama from star soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter. The untitled drama series will follow a high school girls' soccer team in upstate New York.
* Original series "Cobra Kai" will return on YouTube Red for a second season in 2019, Multichannel News reports, citing a YouTube statement. The series stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka.
* Cisco Systems Inc. is removing ads from YouTube amid concerns about the ads appearing alongside sensitive material on the video service, Reuters reports, citing a blog post by the company's chief marketing officer, Karen Walker. A representative for Google, meanwhile, said the company is working with advertisers to "make significant changes to how we approach monetization on YouTube with stricter policies, better controls and greater transparency."
* In more Google news, the Alphabet Inc. unit is expected to unveil Pixel-branded smartwatch later this year, VentureBeat.com reports. The Pixel watch could be unveiled at the company's hardware event alongside the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, and next-generation Pixel Buds.
* Turner Broadcasting System Inc.'s Adult Swim (US) placed a 70-episode order for animated series "Rick and Morty." The series follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe, the company said.
The Daily Dose Europe: BT to slash 13,000 jobs; Mediaset, Telecom Italia ink content deal: British Telecom plans to cut about 13,000 jobs in the next three years, while Mediaset SpA's free-to-air channels will be available on Telecom Italia SpA's TIMvision.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Telstra halts sale of ZTE devices; China's Huya prices IPO in New York: Australian telco Telstra Corp. Ltd. halted the sale of Telstra-branded, ZTE Corp.-made mobile devices, and Chinese game-streaming platform HUYA Inc. priced its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange at $12 a share, the upper-end of its expected range.
The Program Guide: Starz renews 'Outlander'; Disney, ESPN score UFC rights, distribution deal: Stories about Starz (US) renewing "Outlander" for more seasons, Netflix Inc. ramping up its content lineup, and Walt Disney Co. and ESPN Inc.'s UFC rights and distribution deal are included in this edition of The Program Guide.
Hires and Fires: Facebook makes organizational changes; Zayo Group loses president: Facebook reorganized its product and engineering groups into three main divisions and made management changes within the company. Andrew Couch stepped down as president and COO of Zayo Group Holdings Inc.
Economics of TV & Film: Kagan Box Office Report – Week 18: The first week of the summer season got off to a strong start as "Avengers: Infinity War" continued to pull in crowds in its second week in theaters. Total week 18 box office was up 105.6% from $131.7 million in 2017 to $270.8 million in 2018.
Wireless Investor: 5G subscribers, covered pops projections through 2028: The U.S. is expected to offer its first commercial 5G services by the end of the year, and to help us forecast the 5G ramp, we have reviewed the 2010-2015 4G (LTE) adoption.
Consumer Insights: Comcast X1 users embrace streaming from all sources: Netflix and voice search are top features used among Comcast's X1 platform users.
Sina Weibo's local TV partnerships in China boost profits, user growth: Sina Weibo's CEO said its new TV partnerships helped the company to boost its year-over-year profits and monthly active user count.
BT dismisses share price plunge as it retains dividend, unveils staff cuts: BT Group's chairman urged investors to look beyond its short-term financial headwinds, as the group announced a flat dividend, a projected revenue decline and 13,000 job cuts, sending its share price down 8% in early trading.
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