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Disney CEO evaluating Georgia plans; analysts positive on DISH-EchoStar deal

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Disney CEO evaluating Georgia plans; analysts positive on DISH-EchoStar deal

Top News

* Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger has said the company may end film production in Georgia if the state adopts a law restricting abortions on Jan. 1, 2020, Reuters reports. Earlier, Ted Sarandos, Netflix Inc.'s chief content officer, said the streaming giant will rethink its "entire investment in Georgia" if the law comes into effect.

* While DISH Network Corp. spends heavily on its planned wireless network, the company has found a way to cut a significant fixed cost out of its shrinking satellite video business. The company agreed to acquire EchoStar Corp.'s broadcast satellite service division in a tax-free, all-stock transaction valued at about $800 million. Prior to the deal, DISH had paid EchoStar for its broadcast satellite services, to the tune of $378.7 million in 2018.

* A recent call by a group of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives asking leadership to reconsider the current legislative approach on net neutrality is unlikely to ease the current partisan gridlock on the issue, according to policy experts. But there could come a tipping point — either in Congress or in response to the courts — where that dynamic changes.

* Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has criticized Facebook Inc. for not removing a doctored video of her, The Wall Street Journal reports. Monika Bickert, Facebook's global policy chief, said last week the company had "decelerated" its promotion of the video and is alerting people who watch or share the video that it has been declared to be false by independent fact-checking organizations.

Technology

* Apple Inc. defended its App Store following criticism by companies such as Spotify Technology SA over the treatment of rivals' apps. In a post on its website, the tech giant said it takes responsibility for its App Store and seeks to ensure that all apps follow its guidelines to ensure a safe experience for users. Apple also noted that 84% of the apps are free and it collects a commission from developers when a digital good or service is delivered through the app.

* Amazon.com Inc. has unveiled an $89.99 Echo Show 5, which features a 5.5-inch display, HD camera and built-in camera shutter, the company said in a news release. Echo Show 5 is available for preorder online and will start shipping in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia next month and to India in July.

Internet & OTT

* NBC News is officially entering the streaming video news service fray with NBC News NOW, a precursor to a larger streaming effort NBCUniversal Media LLC plans to launch next year. The service, announced in March and soft-launched in recent weeks, opened its 3 p.m.-11 p.m. launch window on May 29, though it added programming earlier than expected to offer coverage of a press conference by Robert Mueller, the special counsel whose team investigated allegations against U.S. President Donald Trump and his 2016 election campaign.

* Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC has tweaked its content policy to ban apps on its app store that allow the sale of marijuana or related products, Reuters reports.

* Google has rolled out new developer policies to protect children and families accessing its Google Play store. In an official blog post, Kanika Sachdeva, product manager at Google Play, said developers are now required to meet certain policy requirements regarding content and the handling of personally identifiable information if their target audience is children. If children are not the target audience, then app developers will be asked to ensure that they do not unintentionally appeal to them.

TV Networks

* Charter Communications Inc. has added Sony Pictures Television Inc.'s Spanish-language movie channel Cine Sony Television (US) to Spectrum's Mi Plan Latino tier, Multichannel News reports, citing a company statement. Cine Sony will also be available on all major pay TV platforms nationwide, the Sony Corp. unit said.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng lost 0.44% to 27,114.88, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.29% to 20,942.53.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.51% to 7,221.79, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.47% to 1,027.79.

On the macro front

The GDP report, the international trade in goods report, the jobless claims report, the corporate profits report, the retail inventories [Advance] report, the wholesale inventories [Advance] report, the pending home sales index, the EIA natural gas report, the EIA petroleum status report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply 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: CNN to scale back London office; Pluto TV launches on Amazon Fire: News network CNN (US) is making changes to its London office, while Viacom Inc.'s streaming service Pluto TV has launched on Amazon Fire TV devices in the U.K., Germany and Austria.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Naspers to float businesses holding Tencent stake; Huawei to speed up US lawsuit: Naspers Ltd. will list a new global consumer internet group comprising its international internet assets on Euronext, while Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is looking to expedite its legal challenge of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

M&A Replay: Vodafone to sell New Zealand unit; Spirit Telecom acquires Building Connect: Vodafone Group PLC has agreed to sell Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. to a consortium comprising Infratil Ltd. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., while Spirit Telecom Ltd. completed its acquisition of internet service provider Building Connect.

Mediaset España preps OTT offering; Starzplay launches on Apple TV in Europe: Mediaset SpA unit Mediaset España Comunicación SA is set to roll out an over-the-top offering within its streaming service Mitele, while Starz has launched its premium streaming service Starzplay as a channel on the Apple TV app in Europe.

Featured research

Broadcast Investor: Radio cash flow margin improves in Q1, TV margin contracts: Cash flow margins for a handful of TV broadcasters contracted in the first quarter, attributed to tough comps. An uptick in national spot, digital and network revenue assisted radio margin expansion.

Consumer Insights: Do you stream live video from Facebook or Twitter?: For years social media powerhouses have experimented with live video. But the activity remains niche among consumers we surveyed.

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