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DOJ poised to oppose Sprint/T-Mobile; Amazon Studios head suspended

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DOJ poised to oppose Sprint/T-Mobile; Amazon Studios head suspended

Top News

* The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to oppose a potential merger between Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. when the deal comes up for antitrust review, Reuters reports, citing three sources. The DOJ's main concern is how the proposed merger would impact competition in the mobile sector. The deal is expected to be announced later this month.

* Roy Price, head of Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Studios, was sent on a "leave of absence" following claims of mismanagement and sexual harassment, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a company spokesman. Price was reportedly accused by Isa Dick Hackett, a producer on Amazon show "The Man in the High Castle," of making crude remarks and lewd suggestions in July 2015. Amazon Studios COO Albert Cheng will reportedly lead the division on an interim basis, a person at the company said.

* AT&T Inc. is considering a public share offering for its Latin American pay TV assets to use the proceeds to cut debt from its proposed Time Warner Inc. deal, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources with knowledge of the plans. A potential offering could value the business in the range of $8 billion to $10 billion, depending on which assets are included, one source said.

* Viacom Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. face the Oct. 15 expiration of their affiliate contract, covering 23 networks. Pricing considerations aside, analysts believe issues around tiering are integral to the companies reaching a resolution.

Broadcast

* After President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that a broadcaster's license with the Federal Communications Commission should be challenged, an FCC commissioner tweeted her own response, writing that is "not how it works." The tweet came after NBC News reported Trump had proposed a 10x increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

* A speaker at Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe said "the time has come" for broadcasters to work together to tackle digital challenges head on. Across Europe, online video providers are making life increasingly difficult for more traditional video companies, particularly when it comes to advertising.

Streaming

* Plex's live TV streaming service is now available on Roku Inc. devices, according to an official blog post. Plex Pass subscribers with the Roku preview channel installed can now use Roku to watch free HDTV digital broadcast channels, including local news and sports. "All you need is a Plex Pass and your digital antenna-tuner to enjoy fall’s must-see shows and more," according to the post.

* Hybrid OTT service, Hallmark Movies Now, is set to launch later this month. With launches on a number of smaller systems and other deals pending, Hallmark Drama (US) is expected to be in some 5 million homes by year-end.

Technology

* At the Digital Hollywood conference in Los Angeles, some of Hollywood's virtual-reality professionals expressed concern about the business model for VR amid slower-than-expected consumer adoption. Slow adoption and a lack of standards for the technology has stymied some of the early movers in the space.

* Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. tapped Target to be a retail partner for its voice-shopping initiative, Recode reports, citing a company statement. The initiative will allow owners of Google Home smart speaker to order items via voice commands.

* Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled a new initiative, called Grow with Google, to provide Americans with the skills required to get a job or grow their business, according to an official blog post. The company will also provide $1 billion in grants over the next five years to nonprofits, while Google employees will volunteer 1 million hours to help these organizations.

Advertising

* Microsoft Corp.'s LinkedIn Corp. is introducing video ads that will autoplay without sound on the professional networking website, Recode reports, citing a statement by Sudeep Cherian, head of product marketing for the company's ad business. The ads, which will be similar to other videos on the platform, will be rolled out to a test group comprising a couple hundred marketers before being offered to all of LinkedIn's advertisers.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: James Murdoch retains Sky chairmanship; Viasat World eyes OTT for expats: James Murdoch narrowly won the support of investors for his re-election as Sky plc chairman, while Viasat World Ltd. is planning to launch an OTT platform for Russians living abroad.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Bharti Airtel to buy Tata mobile units; China eyes stakes in local tech giants: India's Tata Group struck a deal to merge the consumer mobile businesses of its two telecom units into Bharti Airtel Ltd., while Chinese regulators are looking to acquire stakes in tech companies such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Weibo Corp.

Hires and Fires: Former TiVo COO joins Amazon; Discovery names new LatAm head: The Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein was fired by his company's board over sexual harassment allegations, while Fernando Medin will succeed Enrique Martinez as head of Discovery Latin America and Discovery U.S. Hispanic.

Featured research

Economics of Internet: Chinese investment no longer flowing into Hollywood: Noticeably absent from the Digital Hollywood conference was the giddiness over Chinese investment in Hollywood that permeated last year's event.

Economics of Internet: Profile: Amazon Prime Video (India): Amazon is targeting India's mass market with country-appropriate Prime membership pricing and Prime Video content. The market-specific focus is vital for capturing and fueling India's e-commerce activity.

Economics of TV & Film: 'It' floats to the top of October film profit projections: Box office trends followed through in this month's film profit projections of the September wide-release films. It came as little surprise that "It" was at the top of the chart.

Multichannel Trends: Multichannel stocks tumble on hints of steep video subscriber drop: Multichannel share prices ended in a sea of red Oct. 12 in the wake of AT&T's filing pointing to a steep decline in legacy video subscriptions.

Multichannel Trends: 2017 drop anchors US cable CapEx forecast: Total cable capital expenditures are on track to top $18.3 billion in 2017, a 2.8% decline from the industry's high point to-date of $18.84 billion established in 2016.

Economics of Networks: Vegas Golden Knights score 2 wins in opener: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (US) added Cox Communications Inc. subscribers hours before the Vegas Golden Knights took the ice for their first official NHL regular-season game Oct. 6.

Economics of TV & Film: Kagan Box Office Report – Week 41: The fall season is beginning to lose steam as the box office pace of the movie "It" is slowing. Weekly box office was down for the second week in a row, dropping 4.0% in week 41.

Wireless Investor: The economics of US fixed wireless: Getting strong EBITDA margins with just 10,000 subs is a common feat for U.S. wireless internet service providers, according to speakers at Wispapalooza 2017.

Multichannel Trends: Databook: Broadband Cable Financial: Overview, table of contents and link to PDF, Excel and new PowerPoint summary for edition published in October 2017.

Global Multichannel: New TV Network coverage - Asia-Pacific network profiles: Kagan's TV Network database now includes 29 more networks, based in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.