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Disney, Verizon avoid blackout; cyberattack hits major US newspapers


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Disney, Verizon avoid blackout; cyberattack hits major US newspapers

Editor's note: The Daily Dose will not be published Jan. 1, 2019. It will resume publication Jan. 2, 2019.

Top News

* Walt Disney Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. have reached a broad carriage accord, averting a potential blackout of the ESPN Inc. family of networks, other cable services — including Freeform (US) and Disney Channel (US) — as well as a pair of ABC (US)-owned TV stations. The renewal, terms of which were not disclosed, was announced on the morning of Dec. 30.

* A cyberattack caused major printing and delivery disruptions Dec. 29 for large U.S. newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun. The Los Angeles Times reported that the attack, which infected systems crucial to the news production and printing process, appeared to be in the form of "Ryuk" ransomware and to have originated outside the U.S. Tribune Media Co.'s Tribune Publishing Co., which owns the Tribune and the Sun, said in a statement that "there is no evidence that customer credit card information or personally identifiable information has been compromised."

* Netflix Inc. no longer supports the use of Apple Inc.'s iTunes as a method of payment for new users, reports, citing a company representative. Existing members can continue to use iTunes for billing purposes, the spokesperson added.

Social media

* A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing Alphabet Inc.'s Google Photos of violating consumers' privacy, Reuters reports. U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, granted Google a motion for summary judgment Dec. 29, saying the court lacked "subject matter jurisdiction because plaintiffs have not suffered concrete injuries."

* Facebook Inc. dismissed a report by The New York Times that questioned the way the company reviewed content on the social networking platform. In an official post, Facebook said its policies are public, carefully considered and not "ad hoc," "disorganized" and "secretive" as the Times claimed. The company also said a team responsible for enforcing policies comprises about 30,000 people, about 15,000 of which are content reviewers based around the globe.


* CenturyLink Inc. said late Dec. 28 that all of its services affected by a two-day nationwide network outage are now back up, including 911 emergency phone services. The announcement came after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai had announced an investigation into the Dec. 27-Dec. 28 service disruption.

Film & TV

* Comcast Corp. removed FUSE (US) music network, which is partly owned by Jennifer Lopez, from its lineup, Variety reports, citing a company statement. Comcast said it dropped Fuse because the network carried content similar to other networks that were available on its lineup. Fuse criticized the move, arguing that Comcast is "silencing yet another independent media company, in this case, one that is devoted to providing a platform for inclusive voices and authentic representation at a uniquely important time in our society."

* Verizon Communications Inc.'s Fios subscribers lost access to conservative outlet BlazeTV, reports. In a note to subscribers, Fios said it considered the cost of programming while removing BlazeTV. Blaze Media declined to comment when contacted by The Hill.

* Warner Bros.' "Aquaman" pulled in $51.5 million to top the domestic box office for the Dec. 30 weekend, followed by Disney's "Mary Poppins Returns" at No. 2 with $28 million and Paramount's "Bumblebee" in the third spot with $20.5 million, according to comScore Inc. Sony Corp.'s "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse" took the fourth spot with $18.3 million, while Warner Bros.' "The Mule" was No. 5 with $11.8 million.


* Horror movie "Bird Box" has been streamed by more than 45 million Netflix accounts in its first seven days, the streaming giant disclosed in a tweet. The movie, which stars Sandra Bullock, follows a mother and her two children who make a desperate bid to reach safety.

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.

The day ahead

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

Most Asian markets were closed ahead of the New Year's holiday.

In Europe as of midday, FTSE 100 was down 0.14% to 6,724.79 and Euronext 100 climbed 0.18% to 914.56.

On the macro front

No notable reports are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Google to expand Portugal office; Tele2 selling stake in Kazakhstan JV: U.S. tech giant Google is expanding the office space in its global operations center in Portugal, while Swedish operator Tele2 AB is exercising an option to sell its stake in its joint venture with Kazakh fixed-line operator Kazakhtelecom.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Tencent excluded in China's video game approval; Huawei commits to cybersecurity: Tencent Holdings Ltd. titles were excluded from the first batch of video game license approvals issued by China, while Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is prepared to prove itself by producing industry-leading products in the face of backlash.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, most read: Disney, Fios dispute; Streaming services growth in 2018: Stories about Disney warning Fios customers about a potential blackout and the possibility of some cable subscribers seeing Tribune- and Nexstar Media Group Inc.-owned TV stations go dark in 2019 are included in the most read stories for the week ended Dec. 28.

Featured research

Economics of TV & Film: Premium networks have more patience with original series: We look at success rates for premium network original scripted series.

Global Multichannel: Eastern Europe TV Everywhere overview: All the major pay TV operators in the Eastern Europe region have deployed TVE services. Cooperation with online video services and borderless access across EU member states is giving momentum to TVE initiatives.

Technology: Q3 Apple review: Previous generation iPhones outsell new X-series iPhones: Reports indicate that pre-2018 iPhones sold in higher volumes during the third quarter compared with the new high-priced X-series iPhones.

Economics of Internet: Scandals fail to shake Facebook's grip on the social ad sector: The year 2018 has been rocky for Facebook from a public relations standpoint, but assorted gaffes and user privacy concerns have yet to impact the company's bottom line.

Technology: Global OTT expansion continues to benefit smart TV manufacturers in Q3'18: Smart TVs continue to grow in popularity as the increasing availability of worldwide over-the-top services drives demand in multiple markets.

Global Multichannel: Iceland: Pay TV market overview: Fueled by demand for premium content, the Nordic multichannel TV subscriber market of Iceland has grown by 33.3% between 2013 and 2017, with pay TV penetration of TV households approaching saturation at 84.1% as of year-end 2017.

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