* Amid a probable conflict of interest, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper withdrew from the review process for the Pentagon's JEDI cloud-computing contract as his son Luke Esper works at International Business Machines Corp., one of the original contract applicants, Reuters reports, citing a statement by chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman. The Pentagon ordered a review of its multibillion-dollar cloud-computing contract after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that the U.S. Defense Department might have rigged the contest in favor of Amazon.com Inc.
* Dozens of attorneys general have joined a New York-led antitrust investigation of Facebook Inc. New York State Attorney General Letitia James said the attorneys general will "use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook's actions stifled competition and put users at risk."
* Verizon Communications Inc. will offer The Walt Disney Co.'s streaming service Disney+ to its unlimited wireless customers, as well as new Fios home internet and 5G home internet customers free for 12 months. The streaming service is set to launch Nov. 12 in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands. Disney+ will include Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios LLC, Star Wars, National Geographic Channel (US) content and more.
* Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel said the company is on track to reach profitability by the fourth quarter while continuing to capitalize on emerging technologies, including augmented reality and gaming. The company on Oct. 22 posted a third-quarter net loss of $227.4 million, or 16 cents per share, compared to a loss of $325.1 million, or 25 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Internet & OTT
* Discovery Inc. launched its live interactive cooking platform Food Network Kitchen across multiple platforms in the U.S. Food Network Kitchen features live cooking classes, home delivery for ingredients, instructional videos, a selection of Food Network (US) shows as well as thousands of recipes.
* Facebook pledged to commit $1 billion over the next decade to help address the affordable housing crisis in California. The social media company partnered with California Governor Gavin Newsom and the State of California to help accelerate progress on the housing initiative, Facebook CFO David Wehner said in a blog post.
* Viacom Inc. CEO Bob Bakish said during an Oct. 22 keynote address at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles that mobile video is the future of video despite some "false starts." Bakish argued that it is now time for short-form and mobile-first entertainment — and Viacom is looking for partners.
* Amazon rolled out ad-supported news video service on Fire TV devices and Fire tablets, Variety reports. The service will rely on videos from publishers, including CBS News Inc., Reuters, Huffington Post and Bloomberg, among others.
* The U.S. Federal Trade Commission took action and halted deceptive online marketing tactics by Devumi LLC and cosmetic products company Sunday Riley Skincare. The now-defunct Devumi and its owner and CEO German Calas Jr. used websites Devumi.com, TwitterBoost.co, Buyview.co and Buyplans.co to sell fake indicators of social media influence, including fake followers, subscribers, views and likes to users of various social media platforms.
* In-flight internet company Gogo Inc. selected Airspan Networks Inc. to build and develop its air-to-ground 5G network for business and commercial aviation. As part of the partnership, the Gogo 5G system will use the same carrier-grade technology as the Airspan Air5G product line. The new network is expected to roll out in 2021.
* Roku Inc. struck a deal to buy video advertising platform dataxu inc. for $150 million in cash and shares of Roku's class A common stock. The transaction, which has been approved by each company's board, is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
* Meredith Corp. closed the sale of the Money brand, including the Money.com website, to Ad Practitioners LLC, a portfolio of digital brands. The companies did not disclose the terms of the transaction. Meredith previously acquired the Money brand as part of its January 2018 acquisition of Time Inc. though it soon decided to sell its noncore properties.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng shed 0.82% to 26,566.73, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.34% to 22,625.38.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.08% to 7,217.66, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.66% to 1,085.66.
On the macro front
The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index and the U.S. Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status 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.
The Daily Dose Europe: Discovery's dplay in UK, Ireland; Telenor, NENT units' merger; streaming in UK: Discovery's dplay launches in the UK and Ireland, Telenor ASA and Nordic Entertainment Group AB will jointly form a new broadcasting company, and streaming platforms may face restrictions after Brexit.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank/WeWork deal update; Huawei car sensors; more Indian content on Netflix: WeWork Companies Inc.'s board approved SoftBank Group Corp.'s takeover offer, Huawei will utilize its 5G technologies to develop sensors for self-driving vehicles, and Netflix is adding content from Indian comedians to expand its comedy slate.
5G Focus: Singapore's roadmap; Hong Kong's spectrum auction; O2's rollout: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It will also feature in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.
Rakuten TV launches free service in Europe; TikTok to review content policies: Rakuten TV is launching a free, ad-supported channel in Europe as it looks to expand in the region, while TikTok will bring in an external group to review and advice on its content moderation policies.
Data Dispatch: IBM looks to cloud as its largest business unit continues to falter: International Business Machines Corp.'s pivot towards a hybrid cloud future showed signs of early success in the third quarter and could eventually offset continued declines in systems hardware sales, analysts said.
Economics of TV & Film: New! TV programming index: The TV programming index, updated quarterly on a rolling basis, catalogs links to Kagan's recurring reports on the U.S. TV programming sector.
Economics of Internet: State of US online video: virtual multichannel: The U.S. virtual multichannel sector continues to mature and go mainstream, with major services typically carrying about 50 to 100 channels and available throughout the country.
The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Kagan presents the editor's top picks from its exclusive research and analysis for the week ended Oct. 18.
Interpublic sees US headwind of 4.8% in Q3 due to large account losses: Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. CEO Michael Roth on an earnings call said major client defections in late 2018 resulted in 4.8% organic revenue headwind in the U.S. during the period ended Sept. 30.
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