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Shari Redstone searching for new CBS CEO; Tribune holding Sinclair 'accountable'

Top News

* Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS Corp., has initiated a search for a new CEO of the company, reports, citing two people close to her. The sources said Redstone has been inquiring about potential replacements for Chairman, President and CEO Les Moonves, who is facing a probe over allegations of sexual misconduct.

* While Tribune Media Co. executives said they are "disappointed" with the end of the Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. transaction, they said the company is nevertheless ready to execute on several fronts, including in pursuing a lawsuit against Sinclair and remaining open to new alternatives for growth. Tribune on Aug. 9 terminated its merger agreement with Sinclair and filed a suit against the broadcaster in the Delaware Chancery Court for allegedly breaching the merger agreement between the two companies.

* Buoyed by the growth of Paramount TV and the demand for global programming, Viacom Inc. is ramping up content production with an eye toward making this a $1 billion business in 2020. Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish told analysts on the company's Aug. 9 earnings call that revenues at Paramount TV have grown from zero a few years back to the more than $400 million expected in fiscal 2018.

* Restrictions by media mogul Sumner Redstone's trust will make it difficult for his heirs to sell Viacom and CBS Corp. after his death, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Estate planning documents reviewed by the Journal specified that a trust that will take control of the media companies in the event of Redstone's death or incapacitation must maintain at least 30% of the voting interest in the resulting entity in the event of a sale, a move that could make selling either company to a larger entity more difficult. The Redstone family controls 80% of the voting stock in CBS and Viacom through closely held private company National Amusements Inc.


* With a dispute triggered by retransmission-consent woes and a two-month-old blackout that DISH Network Corp. executives believe could be permanent, Univision Communications Inc. is ready to deploy its portfolio to direct the distributor's subscribers to other providers. New Univision CEO Vincent Sadusky informed analysts on the company's Aug. 9 earnings call that it seems like DISH is "pretty well dug-in. We take their comments at face value. So far, we haven't really promoted and utilized the full strength of all our networks to convert their subscribers to other providers. But we are fully prepared to do that."


* Doug Field, who used to work at Apple Inc. as vice president of Mac hardware engineering before joining Tesla Inc., has returned to the iPhone maker, reports, citing a company statement. Field took a leave of absence from Tesla in May.

* Facebook Inc. is restricting access to links to websites with blueprints for 3-D printed guns, reports. The social networking company's community standards do not allow person-to-person gun sales, according to the report.

* In more Facebook news, the company will no longer run Friend List Feeds, reports, citing a notification on the Facebook app. The company had rolled out the feature, which allowed users to scroll through only those posts from one of their designated friend lists, to offer a more personalized experience.

* Many industry observers wonder how people will use next-generation networks — whether wireless or fixed — which has implications for how the networks are funded and built. To shed more light, CableLabs, the cable industry's nonprofit research lab, has released the latest installment in its Near Future film series, envisioning how communities will use high-speed broadband networks in classrooms and schools.

Internet & OTT

* Netflix Inc. will premiere the sixth and final season of drama series "House of Cards" on Nov. 2, Broadcasting & Cable reports. Actors Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear join the cast for the final season.

* Apple picked up a half-hour scripted comedy series set in a video game development studio, Variety reports. Rob McElhenney will star in the series and also write and executive produce alongside Charlie Day.

* Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC introduced a new video-based Q&A app called Cameos, reports. The app allows users, including celebrities and public figures, to answer questions about themselves and share those directly on Google.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.84% to 28,366.62, and the Nikkei 225 declined 1.33% to 22,298.08.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.76% to 7,682.32, and the Euronext 100 was down 1.10% to 1,066.65.

On the macro front

The Treasury Budget report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report and the consumer price index 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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Pantaflix, ProSiebenSat.1 unit ink content deal; BT to create 1,000 new jobs: German video-on-demand service Pantaflix AG has struck a global content deal with ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE unit Red Arrow Studios International, while British Telecom unveiled plans to create more than 1,000 permanent jobs for its consumer division.

Samsung to invest in AI, 5G; SoftBank to lead funding round for Alibaba unit: Samsung Group announced plans to boost AI and 5G investments over three years, while SoftBank Group Corp. venture arm is moving to lead an investment round for an Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. unit.

The Program Guide: HBO, Axios partner for docuseries; CBS orders LeBron James competition series: Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger discussed programming plans for Disney's planned family-oriented streaming service, while HBO (US) has teamed up with new media company Axios for a limited documentary series of news-oriented specials.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Tencent forming giant healthcare network in China; Docomo may sell Italian unit: Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s medical unit Tencent Doctorwork will merge with Shanghai-based platform Trusted Doctors to form a large private healthcare network in China, while NTT Docomo Inc. is considering off-loading its Italian mobile content company Buongiorno.

Featured research

Economics of Internet: Hulu, Netflix content viewing grows in Q2, placing them atop the field: Hulu LLC and Netflix, two of the top three largest subscription over-the-top video services in the U.S., measured significantly higher content viewing totals than their peers in the second quarter, according to comScore Video Metrix data.

Economics of Advertising: Discovery reports 1% domestic ad revenue growth, but guides higher for Q3: Discovery Inc. posted weak domestic ad revenue growth, but the company guided higher for the third quarter. Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. integrations are going well and could produce $600 million per year in synergies.

Economics of Advertising: Disney cable network ad revenue falls 6% as execs tout OTT expansion: Excitement is mounting over Walt Disney's online streaming plans, buoyed by the pending acquisition of critical 21st Century Fox Inc. assets.

Recent earnings

Liberty Global turns to acquisitions, management changes to halt Swiss losses: Cable giant Liberty Global PLC reported second quarter customer losses at UPC Switzerland Holding BV and said it would consider acquisitions, as well as organic growth, to boost its share of the Swiss market.

Deutsche Telekom CFO: Rising mobile competition could dampen network investment: Deutsche Telekom AG Chief Financial Officer Thomas Dannenfeldt said that given the high cost of upgrading mobile network infrastructure to next-generation technology, it would be a mistake for Germany to welcome a fourth mobile competitor.

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