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Samsung halts sales of Galaxy Note 7; Alibaba strikes film deal with Amblin

TOP NEWS

* Samsung Electronics announced that it will ask its global partners to suspend all sales and exchanges of its Galaxy Note 7, and also advised owners to switch off their devices. The Samsung Group unit is currently coordinating with regulatory bodies to look into reports of replacement smartphones catching fire following the worldwide recall. The South Korean company is also stopping production of the Galaxy Note 7, Yonhap News Agency reports, citing a source from Samsung's supplier.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Alibaba Pictures Group and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners struck a strategic deal to co-produce, finance and distribute films for Chinese and global audiences. The two companies will also team up to distribute film content online, and later on TV and other digital distribution platforms. Alibaba will acquire a minority holding in Amblin, as well as take a seat on the latter's board. Amblin Partners was formed by DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media LLC, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One Ltd.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* The 2017 Australian Open will be made more accessible to fans in the Asia-Pacific region, Business Standard reports, citing tournament directors. Tennis Australia, the event promoter, will publish websites in Mandarin and Japanese, while broadcast deals will be expanded into Asia through radio and TV.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group Corp. announced that it will retire 100 million shares in treasury stock amounting to 8.33% of outstanding shares on Oct. 31. The shares were worth about ¥650 billion at Oct. 7's market capitalization, according to The Nikkei.

* The Development Bank of Japan Inc. is considering taking up to a 10% stake in a proposed PC venture between Fujitsu Ltd.and Lenovo Group Ltd., The Nikkei reports. Lenovo is expected to take a 51% stake and Fujitsu at least a one-third stake, while DBJ would acquire the rest.

* Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued administrative penalties to three mobile operators - NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank - for offering excessive discounts to customers, The Nikkei reports. They reportedly offered discount coupons worth more than ¥10,000 to customers who purchased handsets, despite being told to stop earlier this year. The firms are being required to report their measures to end the practice until the end of this month.

SOUTH KOREA

* The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today from Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics in a longtime design patent dispute, Bloomberg reports. Samsung is contesting a US$399 million portion of the damages it agreed to pay Apple for patent infringement.

* The South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning approved satellite broadcaster KT Skylife's Dish Convergence Solution service nearly five years after it was first introduced, Digital Daily reports. The service integrates IP transmission technology to allow subscribers to watch satellite TV without installing a dish. Cable TV and IPTV service providers claimed the service violated several broadcasting laws.

* Entertainment One Ltd.'s preschool show "Peppa Pig" is set for broadcast and licensing launches in South Korea. The show is airing on the CJ Tooniverse cable channel, and EOne will also roll out a consumer products lineup, including toys and storybooks.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Netflix Inc. CEO Reed Hastings said the likelihood of the streaming giant entering the Chinese market "doesn't look good," and the company will instead "focus on the rest of the world." The statement comes after Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said in June that the company remains interested in China, since it seemed to be a "great opportunity."

* Baidu Inc. is being sued by tech company IFLYTEK, alleging unfair competition, Caixin reports. IFLYTEK is seeking 1 million Chinese yuan, accusing the search engine giant of redirecting users looking up IFLYTEK to Baidu's homepage.

* Wanda Tourism, the travel business of Dalian Wanda Group Corp. Ltd., will be sold to its Shanghai-based counterpart Tongcheng Tourism, NBD News reports. The merger, which includes 12 Wanda travel agencies, is expected to generate about 2 billion Chinese yuan in net profit in 2018.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Thai Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. launched Samsung Pay in Thailand, Thansettakij reports. According to Samsung's microsite, registration has already begun for credit card holders with KTC, Citi, KBank and SCB.

* Indonesian telcos Indosat and PT XL Axiata Tbk were reported to the Commission for the Supervisory of Business Competition, known as KPPU, for forming a joint venture called One Indonesia Synergy, Majalah ICT reports. The JV, which is suspected of potentially becoming a cartel, aims to optimize both companies' networks in preparation for the imminent network sharing regulation.

* Malaysian telco U Mobile Services Sdn Bhd partnered with tech innovation company Sedania Innovator Bhd to launch a service called U Mobile CreditShare, Berita Harian reports. The service allows U Mobile's pre-paid users to transfer credit to another user through the USSD Menu Browser, MyUMobile app, SMS or website.

* Indonesian telco PT XL Axiata prepared 250,000 mobile broadband (MBB) packages to boost the number of 4G users on its network, according to Indotelko. The MBB service will use router devices to share 4G connections through Wi-Fi to smartphones or laptops.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service is restructuring its management, Prachachat reports. In addition to appointing Hui Weng Cheong as president, the telco added two roles, chief corporate officer and chief strategy officer. AIS is still seeking a candidate for the latter post.

* Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN Corp. is looking for buyers of its three romantic drama series, World Screen reports. The titles up for offer at the global content trade show MIPCOM are "I'll Never Say Goodbye," "The Promise" and "Dolce Amore."

* Xiaomi Inc. opened its first retail store outside Greater China in Singapore, Stuff reports. The store, called Mi Home, is operated by local ICT product and services provider ECS.

* Streaming sports content provider Eleven Sports Network named Shalu Wasu as managing director of its Singapore office. Wasu will take over the duties of Joyee Biswas, who is stepping down as managing director for Asia. He will report to Danny Menken, the group's managing director.

* Com7 Plc, Thailand's authorized retailer of Apple Inc. products, will rebrand all its Apple-centric stores using a 10 million Thai baht budget, Krungthep Turakij reports. The renovated stores will be called Studio 7. The retailer reportedly will also invest 25 million baht into marketing campaigns.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian government will auction 2 x 15 MHz of unallocated 700 MHz spectrum, which is highly valued for 4G LTE mobile broadband services, iTWire reports. A government consultation determined an auction was a better option than accepting Vodafone Hutchison Australia's A$594 million offer. Vodafone Hutchison Australia is a joint venture of Vodafone UK and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd.

* Digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview Australia will launch a live TV app in November, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The app will live-stream all free-to-air networks in the country, featuring at least 15 of the total 25 channels during its launch, the report said.

* Australian media giant News Corp Australia sold its 14.9% stake in New Zealand Media and Entertainment to various Australian and New Zealand businesses, The Australian reports. This comes as APN News & Media Limited and Fairfax Media Ltd. await approval from the country's watchdog to combine their respective New Zealand operations, which is expected in March 2017.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* India's Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment inked a five-movie distribution agreement in India, Variety reports. The deal will cover upcoming titles "Deepwater Horizon," "La La Land," "Patriots Day," "Power Rangers" and "Nerve." Viacom 18 Motion Pictures is a subsidiary of Viacom 18, a joint venture of Viacom Inc. and Reliance Industries Ltd.'s Network 18.

* Vodafone India is seeking bids for its data center facility in Navi Mumbai, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The 12 billion Indian rupee facility is being divested to lighten the balance sheet of the Vodafone Group Plc unit, which incurred additional debt due to the recent spectrum auction in India.

* After banning Indian direct-to-home services, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has specified punishments for violators in the country, Propakistani reports. They will reportedly be fined 10 million Pakistani rupees and face jail time of up to four years.

FEATURED NEWS

M&A Replay: European deals through Oct. 7: Hutchison, Orange, Nokia: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7.

The week in OTT: Netflix CEO discusses China; Amazon greenlights horror show: Netflix CEO said at an event in New York that the likelihood of the streaming giant entering the Chinese market "doesn't look good," while Amazon.com greenlit an original horror anthology series, "Lore," based on a podcast of the same name.

The Daily Dose: AT&T, T-Mobile halts sale of Note 7 phones; NBC suspends 'Today' show host: AT&T and T-Mobile halted the sale and exchange of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 7 phones, while NBC suspended "Today" show host Billy Bush over his "language and behavior" in a leaked 2005 conversation with Donald Trump.

The Daily Dose Europe: Facebook gets £11.3M UK tax credit; French software firm sues Apple: Facebook received an £11.3 million tax credit in the U.K. for future tax payments, while Apple is facing a French lawsuit over access to the App Store.

Data Dispatch: Banking on a new, live-action Disney: Disney is rolling out new live-action remakes of many of its beloved classics, and the strategy seems to be working.

Best of SNL: SNL Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from SNL Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended Oct. 7.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Multichannel Trends: Charter best positioned for ad windfall in final weeks of presidential race: With less than a month to go before Election Day, Charter has emerged as the multichannel provider likely to benefit the most due to its footprint across key Electoral College states, according SNL Kagan’s assessment of political advertising.

Broadcast Investor: Analysis of nation's 3 major radio networks, 2016: Average unit ad rates rising slowly: Based on our updated analysis of the nation's three largest radio networks, syndicated news/talk shows and pre-programmed music formats averaged 13.7 minutes of ad time per hour in 2016 at an estimated $10.08 per 30-second ad spot, up 0.9% from $10.01 in 2015.

Research & Analysis: Pacific bank app users prefer technology to tellers: In the Pacific region of the U.S., consisting of California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska, mobile bank app users are embracing ATMs and smartphones for banking as traditional branches decline. And human branch attendants appear to be less important to bank app users in this region than in other parts of the country, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s 2016 Mobile Money survey.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Wil Hathaway and Ed Eduard contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription.