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Netflix's membership growth; Facebook's petition; Apple's encryption plans


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Netflix's membership growth; Facebook's petition; Apple's encryption plans

Top News

* Netflix Inc. executives believe the platform will maintain its leadership position globally despite new competition, with market share coming from linear TV rather than other streamers, allowing the company to continue growing its content spending. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Netflix reported global paid membership growth of 20.0% to 167.09 million members, up by 8.76 million members. On financials, the company reported quarterly net income of $587.0 million, or $1.30 per share.

* The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition from Facebook Inc. to take up a case regarding a lawsuit against the company, which contends that Facebook's facial recognition practices violated Illinois' biometric privacy law. Anyone aggrieved by a violation of the law has the ability to claim $1,000 for negligent violations and $5,000 for intentional or reckless violations.

* Apple Inc. decided against allowing iPhone users to fully encrypt backups of their devices on the iCloud service amid complaints from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Reuters reports, citing six people familiar with the knowledge of the matter. The FBI is of the view that such a move would harm investigations.


* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is confident that the company will be able to survive further sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, Bloomberg News reports. Ren Zhengfei, Huawei founder and CEO, said Washington blacklisting Huawei will not have a significant impact.

* Vodafone Group PLC is stepping back from Facebook's Libra Association, becoming the eighth member of the group to abandon the cryptocurrency project, CoinDesk reports, citing a statement from a Libra representative. The U.K.-based telecom operator will instead put the resources it had planned for Libra into its digital payment service M-Pesa.

* Taiwan-based manufacturers, including Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., will begin production of a new low-cost iPhone model for Apple in February, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources with knowledge of the details. Apple also requested Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. to augment its production output of A-series processors during the current quarter to meet higher demand.

* IT software company VMware Inc. intends to acquire Nyansa Inc., a provider of artificial intelligence-based network analytics services, for an undisclosed sum. Deal completion is expected in VMware's first quarter of fiscal year 2021.

* Roku Inc. is set to sell smart TVs in Brazil under a licensing deal with TPV Technology Ltd.-owned electronics brand AOC. The streaming software company will offer the AOC Roku TV in 32-inch HD and 43-inch models.

* Andy Bryant stepped down as chairman of Intel Corp.'s board. Bryant will remain on the board through the end of the company's 2020 annual meeting of stockholders.

Film & TV

* Both NFL conference championship telecasts took audience hits this year. Kansas City's 35-24 win over Tennessee in the American Football Conference averaged 41.1 million viewers for CBS (US) in the 3:05 p.m. ET window on Jan. 19, according to data from Nielsen Holdings PLC. The National Football Conference matchup that followed at 6:40 p.m. ET delivered an average audience of 42.75 million viewers on FOX (US).

* Warner Media LLC appointed Cheryl Idell executive vice president and chief research officer of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer, Broadcasting & Cable reports.

* Tubi is teaming up with TV Azteca SAV de CV to launch its free, ad-supported streaming service in Mexico, Variety reports. Under the partnership, Azteca will sell ads and promote Tubi across broadcast and digital platforms.

* The U.K. will push through with plans to introduce a 2% tax on digital companies' U.K. online revenues despite the U.S. government's threats of retaliatory tariffs, London's Financial Times reports, citing a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Washington had argued that the tax discriminates unfairly against tech companies such as Amazon and Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC.

Internet & OTT

* Streaming services reigned at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild awards, capturing five trophies on the TV side and one among theatricals. Inc.'s Prime Video scored a trio of awards, while Netflix and Apple TV+ bagged an award apiece.

* The Pokemon Co. International Inc.'s newest animated movie based on the Pokémon franchise will premiere Feb. 27 on Netflix globally, excluding Japan and Korea.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 1.27% to 28,341.04, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.70% to 24,031.35.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.02% to 7,608.82, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.15% to 1,163.07.

On the macro front

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index, the Redbook, the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index and the existing home sales 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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Offer for Telefónica unit; Disney+ in Europe; TalkTalk/CityFibre deal: A group of undisclosed investors offered to acquire a controlling stake in Telefónica SA's Latin American operations, Disney+ is set to launch in Europe in March, and TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC agreed to sell its fiber network to CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings Ltd.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: HUYA, MTG scrap esports deal; Japan eyes 5G fees; Axiata dispels merger rumors: China's HUYA Inc. and Sweden's Modern Times Group AB terminated their esports joint venture, Japan is considering charging internet users for the maintenance of 5G networks, and Axiata Group Bhd. is not revisiting a merger with Telenor ASA.

Next: Privacy concerns; Big Tech and antitrust; trade deal impact: Welcome to Next, a weekly newsletter highlighting some of our unique news and research on how technology is reshaping the future of industries across global markets

Data Dispatch: Cable analysts: Broadband a 'key driver'; growth to continue amid 5G competition: Vijay Jayant — head of Evercore ISI's cable, satellite and telecommunications research team — said in a 2020 communications services outlook report that he also expects cable operators to "continue to grow their footprints" in the wireless industry.

The Week in OTT: Apple TV+ shows' premiere dates; NBCU streaming plans: Apple revealed the premiere dates for a number of its upcoming Apple TV+ shows, while NBCUniversal Media LLC expects its streaming service Peacock to break even by 2024.

M&A Replay: Google acquires app development platform; Apple buys AI startup: Google acquired no-code application development platform Appsheet for an undisclosed amount, while Apple acquired XNOR.AI Inc., a developer of artificial intelligence tools.

5G Focus: Global telco partnership; Rogers, Sky Mobile rollouts; ZTE investment: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It also features in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.

Featured research

Broadcast Investor: Retrans roundup 2019: Last-minute deals cap busy year: Eight renewals in December 2019 ended a busy year, with the solid momentum carrying over into 2020.

Multichannel Trends: Multichannel broadcast fees skyrocket going into 2020: Our analysis of broadcast fees charged by top multichannel distributors shows an average of $12.10 per month at year-end 2019.

Economics of Internet: OTT graveyard gathers moss in 2019: Naysayers may keep pointing to skyrocketing content costs and growing competition in the over-the-top video arena as evidence of a coming OTT-apocalypse, but 2019 was relatively calm as far as video service closures.

Technology: Slow steps toward trading US linear TV advertising programmatically: The traditional manual processes around linear TV advertising are slowly giving way to the embrace of automation and programmatic trading. Silos are breaking down as ad buyers increasingly require the same automation in the TV buying processes.

The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Kagan presents the editor's top picks from its exclusive research and analysis for the week ended Jan. 17.

Hires and Fires: CenturyLink makes board changes; Equinix appoints SAP executive to board: After serving for 34 years as a CenturyLink Inc. director, former CEO Glen Post has decided not to stand for reelection to the company's board. Dale Fuller resigned from Comscore Inc.'s board.

Recent earnings

IBM's stock jumps as Q4'19 earnings, FY'20 guidance beat estimate: International Business Machines Corp.'s shares jumped in after-market trading Jan. 21 after the company reported slight revenue growth for the fourth quarter of 2019 and forecast stronger earnings growth for 2020.

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