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AT&T, Viacom avoid blackout; Apple set to unveil streaming service


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AT&T, Viacom avoid blackout; Apple set to unveil streaming service

Top News

* AT&T Inc. and Viacom Inc. have renewed their carriage agreement to avoid a potential blackout of Viacom networks on multiple AT&T platforms and products, including DIRECTV, Watch TV and U-verse, Variety reports, citing a joint statement by the companies. The companies negotiated over the weekend to reach a new agreement after the previous contract expired at midnight on March 22.

* PricewaterhouseCoopers cybersecurity principal Sloane Menkes discussed with S&P Global Market Intelligence the results of new CEO survey questions that revealed a widespread lack of confidence in preparation for global cybersecurity threats — and how to address it.

* Apple Inc. has been in talks with CBS Corp., AT&T and Starz to let users subscribe to their channels via a new television app for $9.99 a month each, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The tech giant is expected to unveil a new streaming TV service and a bundled subscription with Apple News at an event today.


* Apple CEO Tim Cook called on China to continue opening up its markets to stimulate the global economy while speaking at a China Development Forum in Beijing, Reuters reports. Cook's comments come as trade tensions and tariff disputes continue to simmer between the U.S. and China.

* Verizon Communications Inc. signed an agreement with the National Football League to create 5G services for football fans, Bloomberg News reports, citing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Under an exclusive two-year deal, the U.S. carrier will help recruit developers to create 5G-enhanced live NFL games for mobile phones, as well as in-stadium video feeds and multiangle camera positions for home viewers.

* Weak memory revenue forecasts from companies such as Micron Technology Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. are an indication that the memory market has yet to bottom out, and analysts said price declines, slow demand and global trade issues could upset a quick recovery expected by vendors and drag the struggle into next year. Memory is the single largest market in the semiconductor sector, accounting for sales of $158.0 billion of the $468.8 billion in total semiconductor sales in 2018, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

* The U.S. Federal Communications Commission's 24 GHz spectrum surpassed the $1 billion mark on March 22, Multichannel News reports. New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were the leading bidders with approximate bids on licenses of $28.1 million, $21.6 million and $10.4 million, respectively.

Internet & OTT

* Online image search company Pinterest Inc. filed for an initial public offering of up to $100 million of its class A common stock. The San Francisco-based company applied to list its class A common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PINS but has not yet specified the number of shares or price range for the IPO.

* Google LLC's YouTube LLC has ended plans to develop high-end dramas and comedies for its video platform, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources familiar with the details. The programs that YouTube has canceled include the sci-fi drama "Origin" and comedy "Overthinking with Kat & June."


* Universal's "Us" pulled in $70.3 million to top the domestic box office for the weekend ending March 24, followed by Walt Disney Co.'s "Captain Marvel" at the second spot with $35.0 million and Paramount's "Wonder Park" at No. 3 with $9 million, according to comScore Inc. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s "Five Feet Apart" was No. 4 with $8.8 million, while Universal's "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" was No. 5 with $6.5 million.


* IHeartMedia Inc. is exploring ways to list its class A common stock on a U.S. stock exchange following emergence from its restructuring process in the second quarter of 2019. The options available to the company include a direct listing or an IPO, according to a news release.

Regulation & Policy

* As the U.K. decides this week whether to extend the Brexit deadline to April 12 or May 22, as conditionally permitted by the EU, the implications of its exit on data privacy should become clearer. Prime Minister Theresa May was offered a delay to Brexit until May 22 if members of Parliament pass her withdrawal agreement in a third vote in the House of Commons.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng Index was down 2.03% to 28,523.35. The Nikkei 225 retreated 3.01% to 20,977.11.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.26% to 7,188.88, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.29% to 1,023.84.

On the macro front

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's National Activity Index and the Dallas Fed's Manufacturing Survey 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: Apax Partners, others to buy Inmarsat for $3.4B; MTG's NOVA sale gets approval: A consortium, which includes Apax Partners LLP, agreed to buy Inmarsat PLC for $3.4 billion, while Modern Times Group's proposition to sell 95% stake in NOVA Broadcasting Group AD received regulatory approval.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Apple CEO wants continued open China market; EU ignores US calls to ban Huawei: Apple CEO Tim Cook called on China to continue opening up its markets to stimulate the global economy, while the European Commission has decided to ignore U.S. calls to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

MarketWeek: Viacom girds for DIRECTV battle; NII Holdings lets go of Nextel Brazil: Shares in Viacom lost ground for the week ended March 22 amid the looming possibility of a network blackout on AT&T-owned DIRECTV. Elsewhere, NII Holdings Inc.'s stock plummeted after the company announced a sale that would result in its dissolution.

Data Dispatch: Jordan Peele's spooky doppelgängers try to take down 'Captain Marvel': Forecasters expect "Captain Marvel" to lose the box office throne in its third frame as acclaimed horror director Jordan Peele will drop his sophomore effort with "Us."

The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: Future of VR; DIRECTV-Viacom carriage dispute: Stories about the future of virtual reality and the DIRECTV-Viacom carriage dispute are among the editor's top story picks for the week ended March 22.

The Best Of: Media&Comm, most read: Sinclair may face FCC probe; Nexstar selling TV stations: Stories about FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel calling for an immediate investigation into Sinclair, and TEGNA Inc. and E.W. Scripps Co. buying 19 Nexstar Media Group Inc. TV stations for $1.32 billion in cash are included in the most read stories for the week ended March 22.

Featured research

Multichannel Trends: US cable capex nears inflection point, up 2% YOY to $5.29B in Q4'18: Investments in cable broadband infrastructure kept capital expenditure levels elevated in the fourth quarter of 2018, as operators ended the full year by investing $18.8 billion in capex projects.

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