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CBS interested in Sony Pictures; Amazon looking to develop 'Uber Freight' rival

Top News

* CBS Corp. is interested in Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures division, the New York Post reports, citing sources in Tokyo. While reportedly Sony was considering selling the business, it was not clear if it wanted to sell all the movie and TV assets, or just some of them. The sources claimed that CBS CEO Leslie Moonves traveled to Japan to push for a deal, but a company representative said Moonves has not traveled to the country recently.

* Inc. may buy or develop an app that could schedule and track truck shipments of its products, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. The news follows Uber Technologies' venture into the long-haul trucking business, Uber Freight.

* The U.S. Department of Justice sent subpoenas to units of Omnicom Group Inc. and Publicis Groupe SA as part of a probe into potential price fixing in video-advertising production, The Wall Street Journal reports. The probe is reportedly seeking to determine whether the companies "inappropriately" secured contracts for their in-house production divisions, while hurting the independent companies.


* Liberty Media Corp. received all required antitrust approvals for its deal to buy motor-racing company Formula One. The deal is now expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, the company said.

Internet & OTT

* LinkedIn Corp.'s training website informed about 9.5 million users about a data breach that included contact information and the courses some users viewed, reports, citing an emailed statement by a LinkedIn representative. The database that was breached reportedly included passwords of less than 55,000 users, and the Microsoft Corp. unit has reset the passwords of some users.

* Facebook Inc. is working with comScore Inc. to update its metrics after the measurement company pointed out a mistake in mobile traffic from iPhone users, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a company blog. Due to an error in a recent software update, the social networking giant had reportedly undercounted traffic from some publishers from Sept. 20 to Nov. 30.

Film & TV Programming

* Walt Disney Co.'s "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" topped the domestic box office for the Dec. 18 weekend by raking in $155 million, followed by Disney's "Moana" at No. 2 with $11.7 million, and Paramount's "Office Christmas Party" at the third spot with $8.4 million, according to comScore. Warner Bros.' "Collateral Beauty" was fourth on the list with $7 million, and Warner Bros.' "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them" was No. 5 with $5 million.

* Comcast Corp.'s CNBC (US) teamed up with Google Inc.'s Google Home, which is powered by the Google Assistant. According to a website, people can now access information about the stock markets and the network's television schedule through Google Assistant.

* Cox Communications Inc. restored access to Midwest TV channels with a new carriage deal, according to a news release. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 1.03% to 21,832.68, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.05% to 19,391.60.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.07% to 7,016.55 and the Euronext 100 was down by 0.11% to 924.82

On the macro front

No notable economic reports are due out today.

Featured news

CAPITAL Letters: Event ticket sale reform hits back at bot-powered scalping: After decades of paying a lot more for a lot less selection of live entertainment and sporting event tickets, frustrated consumers received some help this week.

MarketWeek: Redstone letter leaves Viacom investors seeing red: Prospective M&A has a tendency to get investors' hopes up. But when those hopes are dashed, so too are company stock prices.

Facebook original content would enter crowded field, but opportunity exists: Facebook recently confirmed that it is considering an original content strategy. Industry observers outlined how it might avoid expensive competition for resources with established digital video giants like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.

The Pay Check: The RSU award of Twitter Inc.'s new COO, Anthony Noto, and the compensation of Towerstream Corp.'s COO, Arthur Giftakis, are among those highlighted in the latest installment of The Pay Check.

Best of SNL: Media & Comm, editor's picks: Take a look at the media and communications editor's top five picks for the week ended Dec. 16.

Best of SNL: Media & Comm, most read: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents the five most read media and communications articles for the week ended Dec. 16.

Yahoo and Verizon: Once more unto the breach: Yahoo! Inc.'s future once again seems to be on shaky ground after revelations of a second major data breach. Shares in the company spiraled as the announcement resurrected fears that the company's pending deal with Verizon Communications Inc. could unravel.

The Daily Dose Europe: Apple, Ireland to appeal EU tax ruling; French Senate adopts 'YouTube tax': Apple Inc. will challenge the EU's ruling for the tech giant to pay €13 billion in back taxes to Ireland as the country plans its own appeal, while the French Senate passed a 2% levy on ad revenues from online video platforms.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank invests in satellite startup; Thailand tightens cybercrime law: The Japanese tech giant will invest US$848 million in OneWeb, a U.S. satellite startup that plans to launch a global telecom network, while lawmakers in Thailand approved an amended cybercrime law that has raised privacy and rights concerns.

Featured research

Economics of Networks: Esquire Network expected to go into the red next year after DIRECTV/U-verse drops: In another development that could portend one of the quickest flame-outs in cable network rebrand history, AT&T has rejected NBCUniversal Media LLC's rebrand of style to Esquire Network (US), announcing it would drop the channel in all markets from its DIRECTV and U-verse lineups.

Global Multichannel: Fox looking to consolidate global TV, film assets with bid for Sky: 21st Century Fox Inc. has wanted to take control of Sky for years, and it appears the timing is right as the pound has become extremely weak against the dollar in the wake of the Brexit.

Global Multichannel: Q3'16 Canadian multichannel results show flat financials: The Canadian multichannel sector maintained a high level of profitability in the third quarter, but top-line growth remained at a standstill, despite a surge in broadband subscriptions.

Economics of Networks: Dark cloud passing over Nielsen's planned March 1 release of Total Audience Measurement: After years of complaints from major media companies about the non-measurement of online and mobile viewing, Nielsen Media Research had high hopes that its Total Audience Measurement would be adopted for the 2017 upfronts.

Economics of Networks: Not all cable networks in decline; RFD-TV scores more carriage on Charter: Although there is no question that we are in a period of declining multichannel universe subscribers, not all cable networks are showing a decline in subscriber counts.

Consumer Insights: Most popular content on Hulu not a surprise: Current season episodes of TV shows were the most watched and most enjoyed content on Hulu among subscribers we surveyed this fall. In our September 2016 online consumer survey we asked Hulu subscribers what content they viewed on the service as well as which type of content they found most enjoyable.

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