* The U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved the T-Mobile US Inc.-Sprint Corp. merger Oct. 16, according to a statement provided by FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, who opposed the deal. Jessica Rosenworcel, the commission's other Democratic commissioner on the five-person agency panel, also released a statement Oct. 16 saying she voted against an item to approve the deal and suggesting that the item passed by a party-line vote of 3-2.
* Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca filed a lawsuit against Netflix Inc. over an upcoming movie, "The Laundromat," Reuters reports. The law firm accused the streaming giant of defamation and is seeking to stop the film's release. However, Netflix remains unfazed with the suit and is planning to release the movie on its platform Oct. 18, IndieWire.com reports, citing a source close to the production.
* Comcast Corp. is preparing to drop channels from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. unit Starz and replace them with content from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.'s EPIX (US). Comcast said in a statement on a customer website that 11 Starz and Encore channels would be dropped from its TV packages as of Dec. 10. In separate media statements, Starz and Comcast said that negotiations regarding Comcast's carriage of the Starz channels continue.
* Netflix reported a third quarter that one analyst called "a sigh of relief," and executives tried to assuage concerns as streaming competition is set to escalate rapidly in the fourth quarter and beyond. The company added 6.8 million paid streaming video members globally during the third quarter, compared to a prior forecast of 7.00 million paid net additions.
* While TV stations are expected to benefit from $3 billion or more in political advertising in the 2020 election cycle, station group CEOs are eyeing a major boost to their ad businesses down the road. Executives at Nexstar Media Group Inc., Gray Television Inc. and Meredith Corp. also expressed confidence that retransmission-consent fees still have room for growth at the NAB Show New York conference.
Internet & OTT
* Twitter Inc. will impose restrictions on tweets by world leaders that are found to be in violation of the platform's rules. The social media platform said it will not allow users to interact with tweets by world leaders that promote terrorism; include clear and direct threats of violence; post private information or intimate photos or videos of people without consent; engage in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and encourage or promote self-harm.
* Youdao, the online education arm of Beijing-based NetEase Inc., plans to offer 5.6 million American depositary shares for its proposed initial public offering, with a price range between US$15 and US$18 per share. The Chinese company intends to list its American depositary shares, which represents its class A ordinary shares, on the NYSE under the symbol DAO.
* Netflix secured the rights to Jeff Smith's international comic book series "Bone." The streaming service is planning to develop an animated kids series that follows the Bone cousins on an adventure through a desert and into a valley filled with various creatures.
* AT&T Inc.'s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max, ordered four-part docuseries, "Equal," from executive producers Greg Berlanti and Jim Parsons, TheWrap.com reports. The series will focus on gay rights activist Harry Hay, lesbian civil rights group Daughters of Bilitis, transgender woman Christine Jorgensen and gay rights and African American rights leader Bayard Rustin.
* International Business Machines Corp.'s third-quarter revenue was down 3.9% year over year to $18.03 billion, despite contributions from Red Hat, the open source software firm IBM acquired in July for about $34 billion. The company's shares were down by more than 7% in after-market trading Oct. 16.
* Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard is the latest regulator to speak out about Facebook Inc.'s aim to create a digital currency. It should be "no surprise" that Libra is attracting a high level of scrutiny, Brainard said during a speech. "The Libra stablecoin project stands out for the speed with which its network could reach global scale in payments."
* Technology executives warned lawmakers that popular online social forums like Reddit Inc., YouTube LLC and Instagram LLC would face dire consequences if Congress stripped internet companies from a key liability shield that protects them from lawsuits over user-generated content.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng jumped 0.69% to 26,848.49, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.09% to 22,451.86.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.58% to 7,209.21, and the Euronext 100 decreased -0.60% to 1,098.22.
On the macro front
The housing starts report, the jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey, the industrial production report, the EIA natural gas report, the EIA petroleum status report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply 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: EU order on Broadcom; BritBox's deals; UK's fiber push: The European Commission ordered Broadcom Inc. to halt its exclusivity deals with set-top box and modem makers; streaming service BritBox expanded its North American content catalog; and the U.K. unveiled its strategy for fiber rollout.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank's WeWork bailout plan; Sprint/T-Mobile deal update; Youdao IPO pricing: SoftBank Group Corp. will provide approximately US$5 billion in financing to WeWork Cos. Inc.'s parent company, the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint has been approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, and NetEase's Youdao set the price range for its IPO.
News Corp. execs' 2019 compensation; Disney general counsel's salary increase: The fiscal 2019 pay package of News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson and QuinStreet Inc. CEO Douglas Valenti are among those highlighted in the latest installment of The Pay Check.
Hires and Fires: Investor wins seats on Tix board; Interpublic appoints independent director: Tix Corp. reached an agreement with an investor group to resolve certain disputes regarding the election of directors, while Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. appointed Linda Sanford as an independent director of the company.
Global Multichannel: Thai TV market strives for transformation, return to growth: Thailand's new era helps its struggling media market.
Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Egypt: Kagan has updated Global Multichannel and Broadband analyses for Egypt, the second-largest fixed-broadband market in the Middle East and Africa region, after Turkey.
Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Kuwait: Kagan has updated Global Multichannel and Broadband analyses for Kuwait, a market in the Middle East and Africa region.
Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Qatar: Kagan has updated Global Multichannel and Broadband analyses for Qatar, which has the highest fixed-broadband household penetration rate and the second-highest multichannel penetration rate in the Middle East and Africa region, after UAE.
Consumer Insights: Smart TVs surpass SMPs for TV streaming: In Kagan's March 2017 U.S. consumer survey, internet-enabled smart TVs and streaming media player/sticks were tied at 28% for the most popular method of viewing online video on a TV. Our 2019 survey shows that smart TVs have pulled ahead.
Wireless Investor: Do carrier mergers impact tower growth? We reviewed 35 years of tower growth to see what it takes to slow tower growth and it's the double whammy of a recession combined with big mergers.
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