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Netflix not part of Apple's upcoming video service; ESPN+ secures UFC PPV rights


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Netflix not part of Apple's upcoming video service; ESPN+ secures UFC PPV rights

Top News

* Netflix Inc.'s streaming service will not be available through Apple Inc.'s upcoming video service, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said at a press event. Talking to reporters, Hastings said the company has decided not to "integrate with their service," Reuters reports. Apple is expected to unveil a new streaming television service and a bundled subscription Apple News offering at a March 25 event.

* Apple's modest upgrades to its newest iPads may not help boost the device's shipments, as it may not entice enough people to come out and upgrade devices, analysts said. On March 18, the company announced a new 10.5-inch iPad Air, which starts at $499, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which starts at $399.

* ESPN+, the direct-to-consumer sports video service from Walt Disney Co.'s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment and ESPN Inc., has secured exclusive distribution rights to UFC pay-per-view events in the U.S. through 2025. Starting with "UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2" on April 13, ESPN+ will present 12 live events per year from the UFC over the next seven years, according to a news release.

* Congress is out on recess this week, but the U.S. Federal Trade Commission will remain busy with a March 20 hearing on competition and consumer protection issues in U.S. broadband markets. The hearing will be the latest in a series from the FTC, which launched an initiative in 2018 to assess whether "broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection law, enforcement priorities, and policy."

Film & TV

* With Kevin Tsujihara's resignation as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. amid an ongoing investigation regarding a personal relationship he had with an actress, all the executives responsible for running the three business units under Time Warner Inc. are no longer with AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia. WarnerMedia, which has yet to name a successor for Tsujihara, continues to work with a third-party law firm to complete its investigation with his cooperation about alleged sexual impropriety and whether the executive used his position to advance the career of actress Charlotte Kirk.

* Bernadette Aulestia resigned as president of global distribution of HBO (US) after 22 years with the premium cable network, CNBC reports, citing an internal memo. Aulestia will stay with HBO for the next few months to help transition the new leadership.

* HBO will premiere drama series "Gentleman Jack" on April 22, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The series, which will air in the U.K. on BBC One (UK) this spring, is about a woman in the 1800s England "who had a passion for life and a mind for business, and bucked society's expectations at every turn."

Regulation & Policy

* While the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is still determining how and when it might address character concerns raised against Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel recently said the agency should begin investigating the issues immediately. "This agency has unanimously found in the context of a prior transaction that this licensee engaged in misrepresentation and lack of candor before this agency," said Rosenworcel after the commission's monthly open meeting on March 15.


* Several Sprint Corp. customers have complained about a glitch that has exposed the personal information of other users in their online accounts, TechCrunch reports, citing screenshots shared by users. Customers said they received other Sprint customers' names and phone numbers. A representative for the U.S. carrier has confirmed receiving "several calls pertaining to the same issue."


* Netflix Inc. will stream the live-action interactive series "You vs. Wild" on April 10, Broadcasting & Cable reports, citing a company statement. In the eight-episode show, Bear Grylls will embark on "exciting adventures all over the world."

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng rose 0.19% to 29,466.28, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.08% to 21,566.85.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.42% to 7,329.76, and the Euronext 100 lifted 0.66% to 1,055.98.

On the macro front

The Redbook Index for retail sales and the factory orders report are due out today.

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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: RTL Deutschland, AwesomenessTV ink OTT deal; Sky, NBCU unify ad-targeting offers: Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland GmbH has secured content from AwesomenessTV Inc. for its streaming platform TVNow, while Comcast Corp. units Sky PLC and NBCUniversal Media LLC are combining their ad targeting products under the AdSmart brand.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank leads US$1.25B funding round; Foxconn's US plant operational by 2020: Internet satellite startup OneWeb LLC raised US$1.25 billion in its latest funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp., while Foxconn Technology Group Co. Ltd.'s Wisconsin-based manufacturing facility is set to produce flat-screen panels by the end of 2020.

M&A Replay: CBS buying Lions Gate's stake in POP network; Cinedigm to buy Future Today: CBS Corp. is acquiring Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s 50% stake in POP to assume 100% ownership of the cable network, while Apple purchased Silicon Valley-based machine-learning startup Laserlike Inc.

The Week in OTT: Netflix's interactive storytelling; new DIRECTV NOW packages: Netflix will be "doubling down" on interactive storytelling over the next couple of years, while AT&T is debuting two new video packages that include premium access to HBO.

M&A Replay: Rostelecom to buy out Tele2 Russia; Italy probing Sky/Mediaset Premium deal: Rostelecom PJSC is acquiring the remaining stake it did not already own in mobile operator Tele2 Russia Telecom, while Italy's antitrust regulator will probe Sky Italia SRL's proposed acquisition of Mediaset Premium SpA's digital pay TV platform R2 Srl.

Featured research

Technology: Erosion of DTH pay TV subscribers causes decline in satellite set-top boxes: 2018 ended with worldwide satellite set-top box shipments at an estimated 120.3 million units, a 13% decline from the year prior.

Wireless Investor: Quibi plans to jump-start growth for $1B+ OTT service with cellular partner: Wireless-only video service Quibi plans to launch in April 2020 and offer quick bites of content for a monthly $5-$8. It plans to bundle into at least one cell plan with the Walton Family of Wal-Mart fame as a huge investor.

Economics of Networks: Premium network 2018 growth strong in OTT, feeble in traditional: While the story for OTT remains positive for premium networks, progress in multichannel hit a wall at the end of the year, with a loss of more than five million combined units.

Economics of TV & Film: Johnny Depp lawsuit against long-time attorney has ripple effect in Hollywood: The lawsuit against Depp's attorney, seeking a refund of all fees paid, has made a stir after their oral agreement was ruled void. Attorneys debated the issues at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium.

Economics of Internet: Hollywood prepares for new privacy laws in 2020, the CCPA: There is much uncertainty on how media companies need to prepare for the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, as the attorney general is still finalizing the rules.

Economics of TV & Film: KBOX week 10: 'Captain Marvel' rescues box office: Weekly box office finally posted positive growth thanks to the major debut of "Captain Marvel" in week 10, growing 29.2% from $189.0 million in 2018 to $244.1 million in 2019.

Economics of TV & Film: TV shows, movies based on real-life stories becoming increasingly common: Attorneys at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium debated the pros and cons of getting life story rights when producing movies and TV shows based on real-life events.

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