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Sling TV launches multistream service in beta; Alibaba, affiliate back Ele.me with $1.25B investment

TOP NEWS

* 's Sling TVlaunched amultistream service in beta. The service, which costs $20 per month, offerslive and on-demand content from 21st Century Fox Inc.'s Fox Networks Group brands andthe ability to stream on up to three devices simultaneously in or outside thehome, according to an official newsrelease. Multistream customers will also be able to access Fox'sportfolio of regional sports networks and local NBA and MLB telecasts.Subscribers of the beta multistream service will have access to localFOX (US) broadcastcontent, live and on-demand, in 17 markets at no additional cost. Sling TV alsoexpects to add local content from FOX affiliates in the future on amarket-by-market basis. Customers will soon be able to use Sling TV credentialsto authenticate the FOX NOW, FXNOW, FOX Sports GO and Nat Geo TV apps. SlingTV's new beta service can be purchased with or without the current Sling TVsingle-stream service. Meanwhile, an ESPN (US) representative said that they are in activediscussions with DISH about the multistream service and are yet to reach anagreement, TheVerge.com reports.

* Asexpected, andits affiliate Ant Financial struck a deal to inject $1.25 billion in Chinese online fooddelivery service Ele.me, according to a post onAlibaba-funded news website Alizila. As part of the arrangement, Alibaba willinvest $900 million into Shanghai-based Ele.me, while Ant Financial will invest$350 million. Upon completion of the deal, Ele.me will continue to operate asan independent company. The investment is expected to accelerate the e-commercegiant's push into China's local services market, also known asonline-to-offline ecosystem.

Technology

*Amazon.com Inc.unveiled its new e-reader, KindleOasis. Calling it "the thinnest and lightest Kindle,"Amazon said in a newsrelease that the eighth generation of its Kindle e-reader has asix-inch screen and a 300 ppi resolution.It also has the first Kindle display designed using a 200 micron displaybackplane that is as thin as a single sheet of aluminum foil, and a customcover glass engineered from chemically reinforced glass, the company said.Kindle Oasis, which is now available for pre-order for $289.99, will bereleased April 27. 

*Former Google Inc.executive Regina Dugan joined Facebook Inc. to lead its new research and developmentgroup, called Building 8, Bloomberg News reports.At Facebook, Dugan will work to develop hardware that uses the socialnetworking giant's software, while supporting technologies from Oculus VR andthe company's artificial intelligence research unit. Dugan previously ledadvanced technology and products group at Alphabet Inc.'s Google.

*Former Apple Inc.executive Daniel Coster joined GoPro as vice president of design, effective theend of April. According to a company news release, Coster will work on all aspects of designat GoPro in his new role, including hardware and software and services. Costerhas been a member of Apple's industrial design team for more than 20 years.

Film & TV Programming

*Adam Aron, president and CEO of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., said the company couldallow texting or cellphone use in some of its theaters in a bid to betterengage millennials, Variety reports,citing an interview with the executive. Responding to a question, Aron said AMCcould set up specific auditoriums that are texting friendly, or even considersetting up a section for texting within auditoriums.

*Radio One Inc.'sAfrican-American network TVOne (US) picked up exclusive cable rights to Fox broadcasting'sdrama series "Empire," MultichannelNews reports,citing a network announcement. TV One will air the music-themed drama thisspring following the season two finale on FOX in May.

Internet & OTT

*Fusion (US)started live streaming "The Chris Gethard Show" on Facebook's newLive platform, The Hollywood Reporterreports,citing a company statement. The first broadcast of the interactive talk show onApril 12 featured Lena Dunham as a guest in a prom-themed episode. The show hasreportedly been produced by Funny or Die in partnership with Fusion. For theFacebook Live launch, "The Chris Gethard Show" teamed up with videotechnology provider Telescope to introduce a new product called Live Studio.Fusion is owned by UnivisionCommunications Inc. and Walt Disney Co.

The day ahead

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

In Asia,the Hang Seng rose 0.90% to 21,348.67, while the Nikkei 225 was up 3.23% to16,911.05.

InEurope, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.02% to 6,361.38, and the Euronext100 rose 0.03% to 880.86.

On the macro front

Theconsumer price index, the jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report,the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily DoseEurope: ITV eyes Entertainment One; Regulators ask for EU-US data pact review:British broadcaster ITVPlc held talks about a possible takeover of Canadian contentdistributor Entertainment OneLtd., while EU data privacy regulators urged the EuropeanCommission to review the draft EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement.

Data Dispatch:M&A bids, strategic alternatives have Yahoo looking forward:Yahoo! Inc. is engagingpotential bidders while implementing a strategic plan, all to turn away fromyears of contraction and stagnation.

ConferenceChatter: Upfront and Personal: Azteca America opens up in-house digitalproduction studio: Azteca America executives told upfront attendeesthat it wants to build on the success of its defined prime-time programmingstrategy, and that the service will look to connect advertisers and audiencesvia content produced by its new in-house, digital production unit.

Facebook,publishers look to cash in with more sponsored content: Thestrategy could work well for both sides, industry observers say, as it offersup a potentially lucrative source of income for publishers, who in turn mightflock to Facebook in greater numbers.

ConferenceChatter: British broadcasters edge ahead of US counterparts:Industry observers gathering at the FT Digital Media 2016 summit in Londonagreed that U.K. broadcasters have held up well against disruptive newcomers incomparison to their U.S. counterparts.

Hires andFires: Media & Comm director moves through April 12: SNL Kaganpresents a rundown of board changes in the media and communications industries.

EuropeanRegulatory Spotlight: UK watchdog slams Three-O2 merger: In thisbi-weekly feature, SNL Kagan provides a roundup of significant recentregulatory events in Europe.