* Starz released a report criticizing AT&T Inc.'s pending acquisition of Time Warner Inc., according to Reuters. The study, conducted for the Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. unit by economist Jeffrey Eisenach, suggested that the deal would allow AT&T to push customers toward its own premium channels like HBO and away from Starz. AT&T, in turn, called the study's conclusion factually incorrect. "We fully expect the [U.S. Department of Justice] to base its analysis on the facts and the law, as it always does, and not the work of HBO's competitors," an AT&T spokesman said.
* Google Inc. received a take-down notice on Aug. 1 to remove links to files leaked by hackers after a cyberattack on HBO / Cinemax (US), Variety reports. Security company IP Echelon told the search giant that the hackers stole thousands of internal company documents, including personal information about a senior HBO executive that they published online. The hackers claimed that they were able to access some of HBO's key network infrastructure and suggested that they would release more of the 1.5 terabytes of data they managed to steal in the near future.
* When it comes to the Senate and the Federal Communications Commission, the past is never truly dead. It is haunting the confirmation process for at least one FCC nominee.
* Straight Path Communications Inc. shareholders approved the company's proposed acquisition by Verizon Communications Inc. About 99% of the votes cast at the special meeting of stockholders were in favor, according to a news release.
* In a sign that Apple Inc. stock could be partly decoupling from iPhone sales, which have defined the investment case for the company over several cycles, Apple shares climbed aggressively after an Aug. 1 earnings release that beat consensus estimates on EPS but showed in-line or below-expectation iPhone sales.
* Putting the brakes on years of gains, unit sales of new cars are expected to decline in 2017, but that won't stop automotive advertising from growing around 3% this year, according to key findings from the "2017 Automotive Advertising Outlook" from Borrell Associates.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased 0.28% to 27,531.01, and the Nikkei 225 declined 0.25% to 20,029.26.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.19% to 7,425.78, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.18% to 998.75.
On the macro front
The chain store sales report, the Challenger job-cut report, the Gallup good jobs rate report, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, the ISM non-Mfg index, the factory orders report, the PMI services index, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
CenturyLink/Level 3 deal moves forward amid lawsuits over pricing: Although CenturyLink Inc. is now facing lawsuits in a number of states in connection with its billing practices, CEO Glen Post said the company continues to make good progress on obtaining the necessary state approvals for its pending Level 3 acquisition.
AMC Entertainment previews Q2 loss, discloses cost-cutting measures: AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. disclosed plans to slash domestic costs and enhance revenue as the company anticipates weaker-than-expected second-quarter results and "a very challenging third quarter."
HBO, 'Wonder Woman' boost Time Warner's Q2 earnings: Time Warner saw its second-quarter net income and revenues rise year over year, spurred by subscription revenue growth and the box office performance of "Wonder Woman."
The Daily Dose Europe: Vivendi to cut Mediaset stake; Axel Springer, United Internet merge units: Vivendi said it plans to remove its dominant position in Mediaset, while Axel Springer and United Internet agreed to merge their units AWIN and affilinet.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Foxconn may triple US investment; Samsung heir denies bribery charges: U.S. President Donald Trump said Foxconn's Terry Gou told him off the record that he is considering tripling his U.S. investment to US$30 billion, while Samsung Group heir Lee Jae Yong took the stand to deny all charges made against him.
Industry observers welcome BT's universal broadband proposal in UK: Industry observers welcome BT's pitch for universal high-speed broadband coverage in the U.K., calling it "a good deal" for consumers.
Conference Chatter: Smart city technologies are gaining momentum in Europe: European governments and businesses are increasingly looking at the implementation of internet of things technologies in their drive to set up smart cities, industry experts said at the Asia IoT Business Platform event in Manila, Philippines.
Hires and Fires: US Media & Comm director moves through Aug. 1: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a rundown of board changes in the media and communications industries.
The Program Guide: Global edition: Sky, HBO greenlight 'Chernobyl'; Starz picks up spy thriller: The Program Guide's global edition highlights recent programming announcements from various networks and online video platforms around the world.
Economics of Networks: Costly NBA rights offset subscription fee growth at Turner networks: Subscription revenue growth of 12.6% in the second quarter for the Turner networks was offset by increased programming expenses.
Economics of TV & Film: Kagan Box Office Report – Week 31: The disappointing summer season continued through week 31 as box office was down 16.8% from $287.4 million in 2016 to $239.0 million in 2017.
Wireless Investor: Canadian wireless penetration at 82%; carriers claim success in 5G tests: At the end of 2016, we estimate 4G subs in Canada topped 17.9 million. At about 58% of the country's total mobile subs, 4G subs are the largest piece of the subscriber pie, followed by 3G at about 26% with the balance made up of 2G.
Economics of Networks: Olympics returning to the US in 2028: Paris and Los Angeles were chosen to host the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games, respectively, the International Olympic Committee announced July 31.
Economics of TV & Film: Growing digital market boosts video efficiency by rating up in 2016: Kagan's annual study of video efficiency and cost ratios by MPAA rating showed an increase in the 2016 efficiency ratio, when revenues from digital video were included, while the cost ratio was down slightly.
Technology: Kagan Report: OTT vendors-in-use: In an effort to map the relationships between over-the-top service providers and the complex vendor ecosystem, Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, presents its OTT vendor-in-use product.
Economics of Internet: OTT in Western Europe still on the rise as new players emerge: Online video consumption in Western Europe continues to show signs of growth, with a number of smaller over-the-top players entering the market in the past few years.
Global Multichannel: Discovery, Scripps highlight international upside in merger: During a conference call with analysts, Discovery Communications Inc. and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. executives pointed to global strategic synergies as one of the biggest upsides to their recently announced merger.
Data Dispatch: Discovery-Scripps deal tops July media M&As: Discovery Communications' proposed Scripps Networks purchase outpaces all other media deals in July with a recorded transaction value of $14.9 billion.
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