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Sinclair plans ad-supported VOD service for 2019; Fox film execs to join Disney

Top News

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. has its eyes on new ad revenues as it plans to enter the streaming arena with an ad-supported video-on-demand service in 2019. The company's CEO, Christopher Ripley, told attendees at the NAB Show on Oct. 18 that STIRR, a free over-the-top national streaming service that combines local news and content from various programming genres, is coming soon. In a brief interview after the presentation, Ripley said STIRR would arrive "early next year," without subscriber fees.

* Several senior film executives of 21st Century Fox Inc. will join Walt Disney Co.'s Studio Entertainment management team, conditional upon closing of the company's transaction to acquire Fox assets. Under the new structure, Emma Watts will serve as vice chairman of 20th Century Fox Film and president of production at 20th Century Fox; Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula will chair Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Elizabeth Gabler will serve as president of production for Fox 2000, the company said.

* If the majority party in either the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate flips after the U.S. midterm election, it could affect the tone of congressional oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on key policies in 2019. Democrats have criticized recent FCC actions that have allowed more consolidation in the broadcast space, and any shift in the majority power could impact future decisions on media ownership rules.

TV Networks

* CBS Corp. promoted Christina Spade to executive vice president and CFO and David Nevins to chief creative officer of the company. Spade, who joined Showtime Networks Inc. more than 22 years ago, had been executive vice president, CFO and strategy for Showtime since 2013. Nevins was also promoted to chairman of Showtime Network and will remain as the company's CEO.


* Apple Inc. will unveil new iPads and Macs at an Oct. 30 event in New York City, reports. Recent reports have indicated that the tech giant plans to release a new 11-inch iPad Pro with support for Face ID, along with a new Mac Mini Pro and a new lower-cost MacBook with a Retina display.

Internet & OTT

* The American Cable Association, CTIA - The Wireless Association, NCTA - The Internet & Television Association, New England Cable & Telecommunications Association, and USTelecom - The Broadband Association have filed a lawsuit against Philip Scott, the governor of Vermont, and other officials for unconstitutionally regulating the provision of broadband Internet service. In the filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, the plaintiffs argued that the state has imposed restrictions on the broadband internet service in violation of the Federal Communications Commission's 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order and the federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

* Google LLC's YouTube has teamed up with Eventbrite Inc. to let users buy concert tickets while watching videos from YouTube Official Artist Channels, according to an official blog post. YouTube will post Eventbrite listings for live music performances throughout the U.S. below the video. Viewers will be able to click on the "Tickets" button to buy them directly from Eventbrite.

* Comcast Corp.'s Xfinity Gigabit Internet and Comcast Business Gigabit services are now available to nearly all of the company's 58 million homes and businesses passed in 39 states and the District of Columbia, the company said. Comcast's residential broadband service is powered and controlled by Xfinity xFi, a digital dashboard that personalizes, monitors and manages Wi-Fi connected devices in the home.

* Netflix Inc. has picked up rights to social media documentary film "The American Meme." The documentary, which premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival, will be released globally in December, the company said.

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 day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.42% to 25,561.40, while the Nikkei 225 decreased 0.56% to 22,532.08.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.07% to 7,032.13, while the Euronext 100 was down 0.65% to 989.72.

On the macro front

The existing home sales report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: BT eyes Worldpay head as new CEO; Telefónica inks alliance for smart home device: British Telecom is courting Worldpay Inc. executive Philip Jansen to become its CEO, while Telefónica SA formed partnerships for additional features on Movistar Home.

Microsoft to invest in Singapore's Grab; Saudi Arabia to invest in Vision Fund: Microsoft Corp. will invest in Singapore's GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. as part of a broader collaboration between the companies, while the sovereign fund of Saudi Arabia is in talks to invest in SoftBank Group Corp.'s Vision Fund.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Google fees to hurt China's low-cost handset makers; SoftBank secures US$9B loan: Google's plan to implement a new paid licensing agreement for devices sold in Europe will likely hurt Asian low-cost handset vendors, while SoftBank secured commitments for a loan of about US$9 billion for its Vision Fund.

CBS appoints communications chief; Zillow Group COO stepping down: CBS tapped Dana McClintock to be executive vice president and chief communications officer, while Zillow Group Inc. COO Amy Bohutinsky is stepping down from her role as COO in January 2019.

Hires and Fires Europe: MegaFon CEO resigns; ER-Telecom director general steps down: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a biweekly rundown of executive and board changes in the European media and communications industries.

Featured research

Economics of Internet: OTT roundup Q3'18: Several over-the-top services reached noteworthy subscriber milestones in the third quarter, and future digital video strategies for the likes of Inc., Apple, AT&T Inc. and Disney continued to take shape.

Economics of Advertising: Cable network gross ad revenue falls by 1.1% in 2017: An analysis of 2017 ad revenue and CPM data for the basic cable networks.

Economics of Networks: Cablenet deal flow weak post-Disney/Fox union, but Fox RSNs still on block: Disney's 15.4x cash flow multiple for the Fox assets is unlikely to be repeated in a tepid cable network M&A market, and Disney will struggle to find a buyer to match the more than $20 billion it is paying for the Fox regional sports networks.

Economics of Networks: Hulu examines breaking up the OTT bundle: The streaming media company's CEO discussed offering smaller channel offerings of live sports, news and on-demand content.

Economics of Networks: Philo TV adds three minority-owned channels to its $20 OTT bundle: ASPiRE (US), Revolt TV (US) and UP (US) were added to the virtual multichannel programming distributor's 52-channel package.

Station group CEOs not worried about losing NFL to tech, Tribune merger fallout: C-level executives from TV station groups discussed the future of broadcast at a recent industry conference, touching on topics such as consolidation and the growing importance of sports and news.

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