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Netflix testing new Ultra HD tier; ZTE granted temporary reprieve in US

Top News

* Netflix Inc. is testing a new "Ultra" tier plan that would give subscribers access to four Ultra HD streams with high-dynamic range content for $16.99 per month, Variety reports. The $13.99 Premium plan would drop from four to two Ultra HD streams with HDR content, or four streams without HDR content. The tests, which are currently ongoing for certain customers in Europe, were confirmed by Netflix as a trial program that the company may never launch widely.

* ZTE Corp. received a temporary reprieve from the seven-year export ban imposed by the U.S. government due to its export of equipment to Iran and North Korea. The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Services' reprieve is set to run from July 2 until Aug. 1 and allows the Chinese hardware manufacturer to continue operating existing networks and equipment and to provide handset customer support for contracts signed before April 15, Reuters reports.

* In related news, ZTE appointed some new top executives, including a new CEO and CFO, to comply with its deal with the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a person familiar with the matter. The company named the former head of its Germany business, Xu Ziyang, as its new CEO, and also named a new CFO, chief technology officer and head of human resources. ZTE recently named a new chairman and revamped its board as part of a settlement with the U.S.

Technology

* An administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission found that China-based Hytera Communications Corp. Ltd. infringed four of Motorola Solutions Inc.'s patents. Motorola filed a complaint March 29, 2017, alleging that Hytera was "unlawfully importing and selling two-way radio equipment and systems and related software and components" that infringe four of the Chicago-based company's patents. According to a news release, Judge Mary Joan McNamara said in an initial determination that Motorola's patents were valid and recommended an exclusion order, which prevents some infringing products from being imported into the U.S.

* Snap Inc.'s Snapchat signed deals with Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal Media LLC and Six Flags Entertainment Corp. to launch augmented-reality experiences in the theme parks owned by those companies, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The experience, which uses Snapchat's reality-altering lenses, allows users to turn themselves into Mickey and Minnie at Disney's parks; to view the Minions characters inside Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort; and to turn into Superman at 11 Six Flags parks.

Film & TV Programming

* The Television Academy is in the process of finalizing an eight-year deal with ABC (US), NBC (US), CBS (US) and FOX (US) for broadcast rights to the annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, Variety reports. The networks are reportedly seeking more flexibility with the three-hour telecast, which could involve shifting some of the lower-profile awards out of the live ceremony. Sources expect the involved parties to reach a compromise before the Sept. 17 telecast of the show, which is the last one covered by the previous eight-year rights deal.

* CBS Corp.'s CBS Studios International entered into a multiseries deal with Turkish pay-TV operator Digiturk for exclusive broadcast rights to the studio's entire slate of new series, Deadline Hollywood reports. The deal includes rights to shows, such as CBS procedural "FBI," ABC comedy drama "A Million Little Things" and The CW (US)'s witch reboot "Charmed."

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.21% to 28,182.09. The Nikkei 225 declined 0.78% to 21,546.99. In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 added 0.60% to 7,618.39, and the Euronext 100 slid 0.94% to 1,053.54.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, the Challenger job-cut report, the ADP employment report, the jobless claims report, the ISM non-manufacturing index, and the EIA petroleum status report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Liberty Global, others eyeing Endemol Shine; Netflix tests new tier in Europe: A number of companies are planning to submit separate bids to acquire Endemol Shine Group Ltd, while Netflix is testing a new subscription tier called Ultra with selected users in Europe.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Alibaba postpones CDR offering; US allows ZTE to resume operations: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is set to delay its Chinese depositary receipts listing, while ZTE has been allowed to resume some business activities in the U.S for the time being.

Techtonic Shift: Large London corporates embrace startup-style co-working: As co-working spaces gain ground in London, the capital's largest corporations are embracing flexible office models once seen as the domain of more nimble tech startups.

Analysts: Xiaomi's Hong Kong IPO to fuel expansion in Europe, US: Xiaomi Corp.'s much-anticipated IPO in Hong Kong will provide the company with short-term capital for its market expansion plans outside of Asia, according to analysts.

Data Dispatch: 'Ant-Man' gets a good buzz going ahead of July 4th holiday: "Ant-Man and the Wasp" comes flying into theaters July 6. And though he may be the smallest of Marvel's superheroes, Ant-Man's box office potential is quite large.

Featured research

Multichannel Trends: June 2018 cable TV financing snapshot: The cable TV financing snapshot table lists monthly totals for cable industry public and private debt, equity and stock buybacks from a historical range of years to the present.

Economics of Advertising: Nielsen ratings mixed in May for broadcasters: An analysis of Nielsen Holdings's May 2018 ratings and delivery data for the national broadcast networks.

Economics of Internet: Video ad revenues swell for Facebook, other social platforms: U.S. ad revenues for leading social platforms continued to surge higher in the first quarter, with Facebook Inc. still miles ahead of its closest competition.

Wireless Investor: Regulators, industry must cooperate to connect Asia-Pacific's unconnected: While countries in Asia-Pacific such as China, Japan, and South Korea are at the forefront of 5G development, other countries in the region such as Bangladesh and Myanmar still have large populations unconnected to any wireless network.

Consumer Insights: European surveys find avid gamers are the ultimate entertainment junkies: Findings from Kagan European Consumer Insights surveys reveal that avid gamers spend more time watching TV and listening to music than nongamers.

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