* Comcast Corp. will launch a new streaming service dubbed new Xfinity Flex for internet-only customers across the U.S. starting the week of March 25. The service, which costs $5 per month, includes more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows — including livestreaming television. It will also allow users to browse and access programming across apps from Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime, AT&T Inc.'s HBO (US) and CBS Corp.'s Showtime (US).
* The livestreaming of the New Zealand mosque shooting on Facebook Inc. and other internet platforms highlights the urgent need to combat the spread of abusive content online, but imposing overly restrictive regulations is not the best approach, legal experts said. Last week, scenes of a gunman killing at least 50 people and wounding several others at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, were streamed live on Facebook and also posted on Twitter Inc. and Google LLC-owned YouTube LLC before circulating throughout the wider internet.
* Walt Disney Co.'s acquisition of 21st Century Fox Inc. could result in nearly 4,000 job cuts, Variety reports. The job cuts have impacted the senior staffers first across Fox's film, marketing, distribution and consumer divisions. Employees who were laid off include Twentieth Television President Greg Meidel, domestic distribution head Chris Aronson, Heather Phillips, executive vice president and head of domestic publicity, and Mike Dunn, president of product strategy and consumer business development.
* The main focus for Disney as it prepares for the launch of its upcoming streaming service Disney+ will be achieving platform functionality and personalization on par with market leader Netflix, analysts said. Disney CEO Bob Iger said in November 2018 that the service, which will launch late in 2019 in the U.S., will feature original and library content housed under five headings: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
Regulation & Policy
* At a March 21 policy summit in Washington, D.C., U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai sought to relieve concerns from small and midsize communications companies about the commission's approach to mid-band spectrum reallocation. He also outlined the agency's work on closing the digital divide and explained why he decided to stick around as FCC chairman.
Internet & OTT
* U.S. online image search company Pinterest Inc. has accelerated its initial public offering process, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources close to the matter. Pinterest plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange by mid-April, and make its IPO filing public as early as March 22, though the timing of the filing and IPO agenda might change, according to the report.
* Facebook has fixed a glitch that exposed the passwords of vast numbers of users within the company's internal data storage system. In an official blog post, Facebook said the incident could have affected "hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users and tens of thousands of Instagram Inc. users.
* Amazon.com Inc. plans to offer video advertising space on its smartphone shopping app later this year, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The online retailer has been testing the ads on Apple Inc.'s iOS platform for several months and plans to conduct similar tests on Android platform later this year.
* Apple has signed up Vox for its upcoming news subscription service, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Vox, which is owned by Vox Media Inc., publishes The Verge, SBNation and Eater, though these properties will not be part of the new Apple service initially.
* Disney will no longer make movies under the Fox 2000 label, Variety reports. The company will complete the Fox 2000 films currently in production, according to the report.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Hang Seng rose 0.14% to 29,113.36, while the Nikkei 225 gained 0.09% to 21,627.34.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.83% to 7,294.13, and the Euronext 100 decreased 0.99% to 1,037.66.
On the macro front
The PMI Composite FLASH, the Existing Home Sales report, the Wholesale Trade report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report and the Treasury Budget is 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.
Huawei to spend on internet of things; SoftBank to invest US$1.6B more in Didi: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. will invest up to US$7 billion this year on internet of things research, while SoftBank Group Corp. will invest an additional US$1.6 billion in Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. despite the Chinese ride-hailing app's losses in 2018.
Hires and Fires: Warner Bros. creates interim leadership team; Facebook product chief leaving: Warner Bros. has established an interim leadership team after Kevin Tsujihara stepped down as chairman and CEO. Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and WhatsApp Inc. Vice President Chris Daniels are leaving Facebook.
DAZN may buy Fox Sports Brazil; Netflix to raise fees in Mexico, Brazil: Sports streaming service DAZN, which is set to launch in Brazil by the end of March, may buy Fox Sports in the country, while Netflix is increasing subscription fees in Mexico and Brazil.
Hires and Fires Europe: BBC names group managing director; Turkcell CEO departs: The British Broadcasting Corp. appointed Bob Shennan group managing director, while Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS stepped down as CEO of Turkish operator Turkcell.
Broadcast Investor: TV station retrans growth impacted by disruptions, legacy sub churn in Q4'18: TV station gross retransmission revenue for the broadcasters in this Kagan analysis grew 10.9% to $2.16 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, representing 35.1% of total revenue.
Consumer Insights: UK 2019 Consumer Insights report: 45% dominate the digital entertainment market: Survey results show that those respondents who use online video, gaming and music with any regularity in the U.K. represent only 45% of internet adults.
Upfronts 2019: Crown Media looks to spring return for 'When Calls the Heart': Crown Media Family Networks CEO Bill Abbott says the programmer is looking to find the "right creative solutions" to remove Lori Loughlin's character from the drama in the wake of her arrest on collegiate bribery allegations.
Technology: M&A activity the big story in mature online video platform market: Worldwide revenue growth rates have slowed in the mature online video platform market, as streaming traffic increasingly emanates from conglomerates with in-house capabilities.
Economics of Internet: International subscribers have taken lead in fueling Netflix's growth: In this article, we consolidate our North American, European and Asia-Pacific Netflix subscriber estimates and provide a brief overview of each region.
Wireless Investor: Are wearables plateauing like tablets?: Postpaid wearable/other net adds dropped to 4.1 million in 2018 from 4.3 million in 2017. To gauge whether the decline is a blip or a trend, we reviewed four years of Kagan U.S. consumer survey data.
Multichannel Trends: Cable revenue trends hum along in 2018, with advertising bolstering top line: With the high-margin HSD segment slowly substituting the low-profit video category in the overall picture, margins continued to expand, gaining 57 basis points.
The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.