* A jury awarded $500 million to ZeniMax Media Inc. stating that Facebook Inc.'s Oculus VR Inc. co-founder Palmer Luckey, and Oculus by extension, did not comply with a nondisclosure agreement Luckey signed. While the jury did not find Oculus guilty of misappropriating trade secrets, it found the company guilty of copyrights infringement with no excuse for Oculus' failure to comply with the non-disclosure agreement, according to a court filing.
* Entercom Communications Corp. has agreed to combine with CBS Corp.'s CBS Radio Inc in a tax-free merger to become the second-largest radio station owner in the U.S. The transaction will create a radio platform, with a nationwide footprint of 244 stations, including 23 of the top 25 U.S. markets, as well as robust digital capabilities and a growing events platform, the company said.
* New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Charter Communications Inc.'s Time Warner Cable Inc. on Feb. 1, accusing the company of intentionally misleading its internet subscribers. According to a suit filed in the New York State Supreme Court, the company "conducted a systematic scheme to defraud and mislead subscribers ... by promising to deliver Internet service that it knew it could not and would not deliver."
* Tech giants, such as Facebook, Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Apple Inc., and Amazon.com Inc., and companies from other sectors, are "circulating" an open letter to President Donald Trump in relation to his order on immigration, Bloomberg News reports, citing a draft of the letter. The companies reportedly have raised concerns about the move and also offered to help the Trump administration deal with this issue and other policies.
* AT&T Inc. agreed to acquire wireless backhaul provider FiberTower for an undisclosed sum, according to an official blog post. The proposed acquisition is expected to help the carrier use FiberTower's millimeter wave spectrum assets for 5G services in the future.
* Apple has been working to develop a new chip that may help improve battery life in future Mac Laptops, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The chip, which is expected to be similar to the one being used in the latest MacBook Pro for its keyboard's Touch Bar feature, will reportedly handle more tasks that are currently being handled by Intel Corp. processors.
* In more Apple news, the iPhone maker is expanding the size of its iconic glass cube store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, N.Y., Bloomberg News reports. The store, which reportedly has about 32,000 square feet of space, will expand to 77,000 square feet of space.
* Verizon Communications Inc. completed its $1.8 billion acquisition of the fiber-optic network business of XO Communications. Verizon also inked a deal to lease certain wireless spectrum from former XO affiliate Nextlink Wireless LLC, with an option to buy NextLink, exercisable under certain circumstances, the company said.
* In more M&A news, Nielsen Holdings plc completed the acquisition of media and entertainment metadata provider Gracenote from Tribune Media Co. Following the acquisition, Gracenote will continue to operate from its headquarters in Emeryville, Calif., and will be added as a business unit to Nielsen's Watch segment, according to a company news release.
* Telephone and Data Systems Inc. unit TDS Broadband Service LLC on Jan. 31 completed the acquisition of InterLinx Communications LLC and its subsidiary Tonaquint Networks LLC in southern Utah for an undisclosed sum. Employees from Tonaquint Networks, InterLinx and TDS will operate out of the current InterLinx office space in St. George, Utah, the company said.
Film & TV Programming
* Digital Ventures & Innovation Group, a division of Time Warner Inc.'s Turner International, backed digital media sports company Bigballs Media with an equity investment, The Hollywood Reporter reports, citing an official statement. The London-based company owns soccer content website Copa90.
* As expected, Comcast Corp. unit NBCUniversal Media LLC on Feb. 1 shut down crime-themed channel Cloo (US), Multichannel News reports. An NBCU representative reportedly said the channel was shuttered after facing issues with carriage by multichannel video programming distributors.
Internet & OTT
* Amazon Studios placed an order for an untitled drama from "The Boondocks" creator Aaron McGruder and feature producer Will Packer, Deadline.com reports. While the details of the project remain undisclosed, the show is expected to be based in an "alternate universe" like "The Man in the High Castle" series.
* Nearly 1,000 Twitter Inc. employees made an about $1.6 million donation to ACLU, an organization that has opposed U.S. President Donald Trump's recent executive order on immigration and has sought details about his tax returns, TechCrunch.com reports, citing a confirmation by a company representative. According to an internal email, 925 Twitter staffers collected a donation of more than $530,000, while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani matched that amount.
* Hackers targeted 2.5 million accounts of Sony Corp.'s PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox players in 2015, The Daily Telegraph (London) reports. The information, which included details such as email addresses, passwords and IP addresses, was stolen from forums called Xbox360 ISO and PSP ISO.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.57% to 23,184.52, and the Nikkei 225 was down 1.22% to 18,914.58.
In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.26% to 7,126.17, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.41% to 927.61.
On the macro front
The jobless claims report, the productivity and costs report, the Gallup good jobs rate report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Telenor seeks merger in India; Telstra's Gigabit LTE network goes live: Telenor ASA's Indian arm is looking to explore a merger with Aircel and Reliance Communications Ltd., while Australian telco Telstra Corp. Ltd. partnered with Ericsson AB, Qualcomm Inc. and NetGear Inc. to launch a commercial Gigabit LTE network.
Washington Watch: Pondering Pai's priorities for the FCC: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has not held the chairman's seat long, but his record as a commissioner since 2012 provides some insight into his possible agenda going forward.
The Pay Check: The annual packages of McClatchy Co. CEO Craig Forman and Sprint COO Néstor Cano are among those highlighted in the latest installment of The Pay Check.
CAPITAL Letters: Classy insiders: Voting power vs economic interest of top media shareholders: Social messaging company Snap Inc., which operates Snapchat, is said to be readying a March IPO with a multi-class structure that would restrict voting rights of non-insiders shareholders, following a trend embraced by other media tech IPOs.
Scripps unit TVN scores deal for Warner Bros. content: In this monthly Eastern Europe Video Spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Eastern European markets.
The Daily Dose Europe: Polish party considered TVN24 offer, The Guardian to report record losses: Poland's Law and Justice Party intended to buy TVN24 from Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. unit TVN SA, while The Guardian may reach losses of up to £90 million by April.
Economics of Internet: Broadcast network OTT video catalogs expand in 2016: CBS (US) may still be the only major U.S. broadcast network with a direct-to-consumer OTT subscription offering but 2016 saw ABC (US), The CW (US), FOX (US), and NBC (US) substantially expand their ad-supported OTT catalogs at their primary owned and operated sites.
Broadcast Investor: Broadcast Investor: Table of contents for issue No. 617, January 2017, and B-Stats Supplement Volume 20, No. 4.
Consumer Insights: 1 online video subscription is not enough for US users: Users of Netflix Inc. streaming, Hulu LLC, Amazon Prime Video and HBO NOW were far more likely to use multiple online video services than claim allegiance to just one, according to a recent SNL Kagan survey.
Facebook CEO points to video-first future across its platform: The company said it was continuing to ramp-up its focus on video in the fourth quarter of 2016 with an eye to long-form content.
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