* Amazon.com Inc. is shuttering its Quidsi division that ran Diapers.com, Soap.com and other websites, after being unable to make the business profitable, Reuters reports, citing a regulatory filing. The move will reportedly result in 263 job cuts.
* Glenn Geller, president of CBS Corp.'s CBS Entertainment, went on a medical leave after suffering a "mild heart attack," Deadline.com reports. Geller, who will reportedly return by the end of May, is "on track for a full recovery."
Film & TV programming
* Walt Disney Co., which is working with the Hong Kong government to expand the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park, will increase its stake in the venture to 48% from 47% in return for equally splitting the $1.41 billion cost of expansion, Variety reports, citing a regulatory filing. The Hong Kong's government's stake in the venture will decrease to 52% from 53%, according to the report.
Internet & OTT
* Apple Inc.'s Apple Music was the leading music streaming service in the U.S. with 40.7 million monthly unique users in February, followed by Pandora Media Inc.'s Pandora Radio at No. 2 with 32.6 million unique monthly users and Spotify Ltd.'s service at the third spot with 30.4 million monthly unique users, according to a report by mobile analytics company Verto. Fourth and fifth on the list were iHeartMedia Inc.'s iHeartRadio and SoundCloud with 28.5 million monthly unique users and 25.7 million monthly unique users, respectively.
* Media company BuzzFeed is working to set up a new media company that could go public in 2018, TechCrunch.com reports. Investors in the company reportedly include Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC and Vox.
* Facebook Inc. is set to unveil a new class of group bots that will work inside Messenger group chats at its F8 conference, TechCrunch.com reports, citing sources. The bots will reportedly keep users updated with real-time news regarding sports, e-commerce deliveries and other topics.
* Android co-founder Andy Rubin's upcoming smartphone will be powered by Google Inc.'s Android operating system, Alphabet Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt reportedly said in a tweet. Rubin recently shared a brief glimpse of the new phone, and the other details remain undisclosed.
* Google released a new version of Google Translate app for users in China, according to an official blog post. The new app, available for Android and iOS users, adds instant visual translation between English and Korean, and also users Neural Machine Translation for Chinese to and from English.
* Uber Technologies Inc. has argued that the trade-secret theft lawsuit claims by Alphabet's self-driving car unit Waymo should be moved out of court and settled via private arbitration, Bloomberg News reports, citing a court filing by Uber. The cab-hailing service provider argued that Waymo had already initiated claims in private arbitration against Anthony Levandowski, founder of self-driving startup Otto which was acquired by Uber in August 2016, for allegedly violating his contract’s confidentiality obligations and improperly recruiting colleagues for his own robocar venture four months before suing Uber.
* Stephen Hill stepped down as president of programming at Viacom Inc.'s BET Networks, Multichannel News reports, citing an internal memo. The network tapped Connie Orlando, senior vice president for specials, music programming and news, to lead programming for BET Networks on an interim basis.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.37% to 24,301.09, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.80% to 19,063.22.
In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.26% to 7,354.75, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.06% to 976.76.
On the macro front
The GDP report, the jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Samsung unveils Galaxy S8; Google re-enters China via Translate app: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. launched its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone featuring the virtual assistant Bixby, while Google released an updated Translate app that can be freely accessed in China after years of being blocked.
Q&A: AI exec: 'Audiences do not want more targeted ads': S&P Global Market Intelligence sat down with Martin Adams, co-founder and CEO of Codec, to discuss how AI can significantly improve ad targeting and the integration of big data into ad-buying decisions.
Hires and Fires: US Media & Comm director moves through March 29: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a rundown of board changes in the media and communications industries.
Driverless car tech presents tricky steering as insurers face higher severity: Accident rates may fall as technology makes driving safer, but the cost per collision could go up.
The Short Report: Wayfair leads new media short interest gainers in early March: Wayfair Inc. posted the biggest jump in short interest relative to shares outstanding among SNL Kagan-covered new media companies between Feb. 28 and March 15.
The Short Report: Discovery tops media short interest gainers in early March: Discovery Communications Inc. saw the greatest jump in short interest relative to shares outstanding among SNL Kagan-covered media and entertainment companies between Feb. 28 and March 15.
The Short Report: Frontier tops communications short interest gainers in early March: Frontier Communications Corp. saw the largest increase in short interest relative to shares outstanding among SNL Kagan-covered communications companies between Feb. 28 and March 15.
Capitol Connection: Repealing and replacing the FCC privacy order: With repeal of the FCC's privacy order all but assured, the communications industry must consider what, if anything, will replace it.
Conference Chatter: Leap to cloud may put broadcasters ahead of OTT rivals: The success of over-the-top platforms such as Netflix initially threatened traditional broadcasters' business models. However, an emerging IP-based cloud environment helps to level the playing field, and may even put broadcasters at an advantage.
Vodafone Australia pulls ads on Google; Vodafone NZ buys stake in TeamTalk unit: Vodafone Australia decided to remove its ads on Google, while Vodafone NZ is acquiring a 70% stake in TeamTalk unit BayCity Communications.
Tricolor TV to roll out connected TV; Vivendi's nc+ to launch Polish OTT: In this monthly Eastern Europe Video Spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Eastern European markets.
The Program Guide: Global edition: 'Berlin Station' sells in Europe; MTV exports reality formats: The Program Guide's global edition highlights recent programming announcements from various networks and online video platforms around the world.
The Daily Dose Europe: Vivendi eyes CEO for TIM chairmanship; Rostelecom may control Tele2 Russia: Vivendi SA is looking to propose its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine to be the next Telecom Italia SpA board chairman, while VTB Bank is considering giving Rostelecom control over Tele2 Russia.
Global Multichannel: WE DTT report: Pay DTT wanes as FTA builds on hybrid services and DVB-T2: A complete transformation of the digital terrestrial TV platform is underway in Western Europe, from spectrum refarming to next-generation network rollouts and hybrid services.
Multichannel Trends: Cable TV Investor: Table of contents for issue No. 751, published March 2017.
Economics of Advertising: ViendoMovies, GolTV, BTN sustain triple-digit YOY ratings growth in February: ViendoMovies, GolTV (US) and BTN (US) have consistently bucked the trend of huge year-over-year coverage ratings losses that has been plaguing the majority of non-Nielsen-rated networks.
Global Multichannel: Pakistan pay TV market: Analog cable still dominates while DTH is on the horizon: With 60.8% of TV households taking a multichannel subscription, Pakistan's pay TV market size had grown to 14.2 million subscribing households as of year-end 2016.
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