* Charter Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. unit NBCUniversal Media LLC inked a carriage deal for the latter's network portfolio, Multichannel News reports. The deal, financial terms of which remain undisclosed, was confirmed by Caley Gray, NBCU's vice president of communications, content distribution, in an emailed statement.
* Meanwhile, Comcast reached a carriage deal with Univision Communications Inc. The agreement covers Univision's owned-and operated-broadcast stations, in addition to the Galavision (US) and UniMas networks, according to a report by Multichannel News.
* Sony Corp. is considering selling its film and television business, following potential sale pitches from banks, the New York Post reports, citing sources. Interested parties could reportedly include several Chinese bidders and CBS Corp., which is keen on acquiring the assets.
* Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. ended their exclusivity obligations regarding the audiobook supply and distribution between the online retailer's Audible unit and the iPhone maker. The obligations were scrapped following talks between the companies, the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office, the agency said.
* Meanwhile, Apple's demands over the manufacturing of iPhones in India, including tax concessions and policy exceptions, face some resistance in the government, Reuters reports, citing Indian officials involved in reviewing process. Some government officials reportedly view Apple's requests as being excessive and unfair to foreign companies that are already operating in the country.
* NBC Sports Group teamed up with AT&T Inc. to offer select Premier League games in 4K to eligible DIRECTV subscribers, Multichannel News reports, citing a company statement. The games will also be offered via DIRECTV in SD and HD on NBC (US) and NBCSN (US).
Internet & OTT
* A survey conducted by search-ad data company SEMrush found that Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. used its own search engine and advertising business to promote its hardware products such as Pixel phones and Nest smart thermostats, The Wall Street Journal reports. The survey reportedly examined 1,000 searches each on 25 terms, such as "laptops," "speakers" and "carbon monoxide detectors."
* Comcast's Comcast SportsNet Chicago (US) will live stream the Cubs and White Sox games during the 2017 Major League Baseball season. The games will be available to authenticated pay TV subscribers via CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app, according to a news release.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.71% to 22,885.91, while the Nikkei 225 increased 0.34% to 19,137.91.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.03% to 7,210.73, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.42% to 937.37.
On the macro front
No notable reports are due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Alibaba strikes gold with Olympics deal; 'Super Mario Run' heads to Android: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. secured a long-term partnership deal with the International Olympic Committee for cloud and e-commerce platform services, while Nintendo is developing an Android version of its mobile game "Super Mario Run."
End in sight for spectrum auction, all eyes turn to M&A: The broadcast incentive auction will not go down in history as the spectrum extravaganza FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler once promised. But nor will it go down as a complete failure.
Data Dispatch: Crowded box office proving difficult to predict in 2017: The first month of 2017 has seen a lot of new titles, most of them in the middleweight range, and the weekend of Jan. 20 will add to the commotion.
The Program Guide: 'Better Call Saul' to return on AMC; Comedy Central renews 'Drunk History': IFC (US)'s renewal of "Portlandia" for its eighth and final season and the Jan. 20 debut of "Puppy Bowl: Where are They Now" on Animal Planet (US) are included in the latest installment of The Program Guide.
Hires and Fires: US Media & Comm management moves through Jan. 18: Google, Microsoft, Sony: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of executive changes in the media and communications industries.
Q&A: Starship COO: Robots will boost on-demand sector profits: S&P Global Market Intelligence spoke to Allan Martinson, COO at Starship Technologies, a delivery robot startup launched by two former co-founders of Skype Technologies.
The Daily Dose Europe: Telia mulls TDC bid; Apple, Amazon scrap audiobook deal: Sweden's Telia Co. AB is considering a bid for rival operator TDC A/S, while Apple and Amazon ended their exclusivity deal on the supply and distribution of audiobooks after talks with EU and German authorities.
Wireless Investor: Stage 4, Round 2 gets incentive auction into home stretch: Forward bidding garnered $18.21 billion in total bids at a weighted average price per MHz pop of 87 cents. One more bid for a Los Angeles license put the auction into Final Stage Rule territory.
Multichannel Trends: HD subscribers reach 80 million, on pace to displace SD: The multichannel industry's shift from SD to HD is expected to near completion toward the end of the five-year outlook.
Economics of Networks: Further confirmation the stand-alone cable network M&A market is dead with Esquire Network's demise: Further confirmation that there is virtually no M&A market for stand-alone cable networks, even fairly large ones, came on Jan. 18 when Variety reported that NBCUniversal made the decision to pull the plug on Esquire Network (US).
Economics of Networks: 7 new RSN sports rights deals begin in 2017 as local rights continue to increase: With the start of 2017 and a new contract year for RSN programming expenses, SNL Kagan has updated the RSN sports rights database, which includes seven new local sports rights deals that begin this year.
Economics of TV & Film: SNL Kagan Box Office Report – Week 3: The domestic box office had its first down week of the year as the holiday hits are beginning to lose steam and the New Year's cinematic offerings appear to not be compelling people to fill theaters.
Economics of Networks: TV Network Quarterly Industry Presentation, Q4 '16: SNL Kagan's latest quarterly presentation report examining industry trends and data for the TV network sector.
Economics of TV & Film: 'Rogue One' gives Disney No. 1 spot in January profit projection: There were two major hits that landed in theaters in December 2016 with "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" at the top of this month's film profit projections.
Economics of Networks: Snap, Crackle and pop at NATPE Miami 2017: The marketplace at NATPE Miami 2017 was crowded with producers of content looking to find a home for their kaleidoscope of ideas, featured across a variety of platforms, to be broadcast all over the world.
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