* Altice USA Inc. and Walt Disney Co. struck a multiyear comprehensive distribution agreement for the carriage of Disney networks across multiple platforms. The two companies also plan to partner on ESPN (US)'s direct-to-consumer platform, which is expected to launch early 2018.
* Executives from Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google Inc. have been summoned to appear before a House of Representatives panel on Nov. 1 to testify about the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Reuters reports, citing a congressional aide. Executives from the companies were also invited to testify the same day before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
* Legislators for years have debated updating the two laws that transformed the cable and telecom industries: the Cable Act of 1992 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. With the laws now 25- and 21-years-old, respectively, some groups believe the time for action has come.
* A provision in the Trump administration's tax reform outline regarding cash held overseas by U.S.-based companies has significant implications for the information technology sector, with large multinational entities like Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. holding billions in foreign accounts that could fuel deleveraging or other measures if returned home.
Internet Media & OTT
* Netflix Inc. is raising prices on some of its streaming plans in the U.S. The company's $9.99 a month HD plan is increasing by $1 to $10.99, while the 4K streaming plan will jump by $2 to $13.99 a month. Existing subscribers will have at least 30 days notice about the coming price increases.
* Hackers working for the Russian government managed to steal sensitive material from the U.S. government in 2015 by exploiting a popular antivirus software made by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The hackers used the antivirus software, which was recently banned from federal agencies, to identify the files on the home computer of a National Security Agency contractor. The stolen material included details about how the NSA penetrates foreign computer networks and defends against cyberattacks.
* As cable and wireless converge, two industry observers said that although they see Comcast Corp.'s Xfinity Mobile as a smart and attractive offering, they also see some inherent dangers to it. The service leverages Comcast's network of Wi-Fi hotspots and its mobile virtual network operator agreement with Verizon Communications Inc.
Film & TV Programming
* Harvey Weinstein is planning to sue The New York Times over the paper's Oct. 5 story that detailed multiple sexual harassment accusations against him. Weinstein's attorney Charles Harder told The Hollywood Reporter in an email that the New York Times Co. paper's exposé "is saturated with false and defamatory statements" about the co-chairman of The Weinstein Co. "We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish," Harder said in his email, adding that all proceeds from the lawsuit would be donated to women's organizations.
* Disney's ABC (US) was forced to expand the talent budget for the forthcoming season of singing reality show "American Idol" due to controversy over singer Katy Perry's $25 million payday to act as one of the show's three judges, The New York Post's Page Six reports. According to an ABC network insider, Disney/ABC Television Group President Ben Sherwood signed off on Perry's paycheck to bank on her appeal to a younger audience and her huge social-media following. Coupled with Ryan Seacrest's $15 million salary, the remaining budget for the other two judges, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, proved to be insufficient, which prompted Sherwood to authorize ABC to spend more money.
* NBCUniversal LLC's NBC Sports Group struck a multiyear agreement to air the Six Nations Championship rugby competition. The annual competition features 15 matches played in a round-robin format by teams representing England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Under the agreement, all matches will stream live on the NBC Sports Gold streaming platform, while linear coverage will be presented by NBC (US), NBCSN (US) and CNBC (US), as well as streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC sports app.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.28% to 28,458.04, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.30% to 20,690.71.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.21% to 7,524.04, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.15% to 1,046.54.
On the macro front
The employment situation report, the wholesale trade report, the consumer credit report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.
The Daily Dose Europe: Russian hackers steal US cyberdefense data; Vivendi raided in Mediaset inquiry: Russian government-linked hackers are said to have stolen classified cyberdefense information from the U.S. National Security Agency, while police raided Vivendi's head offices as part of an inquiry regarding its stake-building in Mediaset.
Asia-Pacific deals through Sept. 30: Toshiba, HTC, Alibaba: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a biweekly wrap-up of Asia-Pacific media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Sept. 18 to Sept. 30.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Alibaba, Pac-12 ink sports content deal; Toshiba Memory to go public in 3 years: Pac-12 Conference tapped Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to distribute Pac-12 Networks sports content to audiences in mainland China, while Bain Capital confirmed plans to take Toshiba Memory public in three years.
The Pay Check: Murdochs' fiscal 2017 compensation decreases at 21st Century Fox: The compensation packages of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. executives for fiscal 2017 are included in this installment of The Pay Check.
Hires and Fires: US Media & Comm management moves through Oct. 4: Verizon, Sony Corp., Epix: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of executive changes in the media and communications industries.
Conference Chatter: Social media influencers represent growing force in advertising: The roaring trade between marketers and social media influencers with a large and engaged fan base has been the hot topic at this year's Festival of Marketing in London.
CAPITAL Letters: Cybercrime: The new normal: How big is cybercrime's economic impact? Nobody seems to know for sure given its relatively recent evolution, dynamic growth profile and expansive footprint.
Hires and Fires Europe: European Media & Comm moves through Oct. 4: TIM, Hrvatski Telekom, Disney: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a biweekly rundown of executive and board changes in the European media and communications industries.
Wireless Investor: 4G penetration in Denmark crests 80%: Market saturation and 4G parity among operators impede service revenue growth.
Economics of TV & Film: Kagan Box Office Report – Week 40: The growth streak in weekly box office came to a halt in week 40 as the momentum of "It" slowed down and audiences seemed less compelled to catch the week's new film offerings.
Multichannel Trends: Mapping the nation's 1 Gbps offerings: Surveying the ultrafast broadband landscape shows gigabit internet access is now available in over 1,500 metro (or parts of metro) areas covering more than 26 million total residential high-speed data subscribers.
Multichannel Trends: September 2017 cable TV financing snapshot: The cable TV financing snapshot table lists monthly totals for cable industry public and private debt, equity, and stock buybacks from a historical range of years to the present.
Data Dispatch: Certain large internet stocks see most lasting 'Trump bump': The so-called "Trump bump" for stocks has faded for most media and communications companies, though internet software and services providers in the S&P 500 are mostly holding gains.
Multichannel Trends: September 2017 cable system sales summary: The cable system sales summary lists monthly deal data including basics, homes passed, total value, value per sub and per home passed, and cash flow multiples.
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