* Apple Inc. unveiled a new subscription video streaming service, Apple TV+, which will feature exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries. The service is set to launch this fall and will be accessible through the Apple TV app in more than 100 countries. Apple also announced Apple News+, a premium version of the company's current free Apple News app, and Apple Arcade, a game subscription service that will include more than 100 games exclusive to Apple.
* U.S. House Democrats will continue to move fast this week on legislation aimed at restoring net neutrality protections introduced earlier this month. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will host an open markup on March 26 to consider the Save the Internet Act, a bill that would restore the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order of 2015, which classified broadband as a Title II telecommunications service and gave the FCC more authority to regulate broadband service providers.
* Google LLC's YouTube LLC has dismissed a recent report suggesting that the video platform canceled plans to produce its own Hollywood-quality scripted shows due to high production costs, TechCrunch reports. While confirming that it pulled the plug on two existing shows, "Origin" and "Overthinking with Kate & June," YouTube said it will increase focus on paid subscriptions by introducing an ad-supported slate that will include new and existing series in the coming weeks.
Internet & OTT
* Facebook Inc. pulled 2,632 Pages, Groups and accounts that engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" on Facebook and Instagram platforms. The operations were connected to Iran, Russia, Macedonia and Kosovo, but the social networking giant did not find any links between these sets of activities, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy, said in an official post.
* PBS (US) is in talks to join streaming television services by the end of the year, FierceVideo reports, citing PBS Chief Digital Officer Ira Rubenstein's statement to a publication. Rubenstein said PBS has approached every provider that offers live linear streaming, but is engaged in talks only with those that offer local station feeds.
* Music labels such as Sony Corp., Universal Music Group Inc. and Warner have sued Charter Communications Inc. over claims that the internet service provider failed to terminate the accounts of subscribers who illegally downloaded copyrighted songs, Ars Technica reports. In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Colorado, the music labels argued that despite receiving "hundreds of thousands of infringement notices" Charter knowingly permitted specifically identified repeat infringers to continue to use its network to infringe their copyrights.
* At some point when Netflix Inc. subscriber gains begin to slow, the streaming giant could make the jump into the advertising arena, according to Irwin Gotlieb, the former longtime leader of WPP PLC's media-buying unit, GroupM. Speaking at the Advanced Advertising Summit in New York March 25, Gotlieb, now a senior adviser to WPP, said that while Netflix has not expressed any interest in presenting an advertising-backed package, the streamer would not be doing its "due diligence" if it was not evaluating a lower-priced offering containing commercial content.
* "Marvel's Runaways" will return for a 10-episode third season on Hulu LLC, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The second season of the series, which featured 13 episodes, premiered Dec. 21, 2018.
* Google inked a deal to lease the 140,000-square-foot office space at 215 Fremont St. in San Francisco's Transbay district, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Mountain View, Calif.-based technology giant, which did not disclose the number of employees who will occupy the new office, expects to move into its fourth location in the city later in 2019.
* TiVo Corp.'s CubiTV is now available on Android TV. CubiTV for Android TV is a modular, pre-integrated service that allows operators to use the Android TV ecosystem to improve user experience with over-the-top content, apps and games, the company said.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Hang Seng rose 0.15% to 28,566.91, while the Nikkei 225 gained 2.15% to 21,428.39.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.24% to 7,194.64, and the Euronext 100 lifted 0.68% to 1,030.09.
On the macro front
The housing starts report, the Redbook Index for retail sales, the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller home price index, the Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index, the consumer confidence report and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's manufacturing index 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: Central European Media mulls sale; LaLiga unveils sports-focused OTT service: Central European Media Enterprises Ltd.' board is looking into possible strategic alternatives, including a potential sale or merger, while LaLiga unveiled its sports-focused streaming platform.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Australia eyes heavier fines for privacy breaches; Alibaba buys InfinityAR: The Australian government is proposing heftier fines against tech giants such as Facebook and Google for privacy breaches, while Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. acquired Israeli mixed reality startup Infinity Augmented Reality Ltd.
M&A Replay: Disney closes $71B Fox acquisition; TEGNA, Scripps buying 19 Nexstar TV stations: Walt Disney Co. completed its deal to acquire 21st Century Fox Inc. for a total transaction value of about $71 billion, while Nexstar Media Group Inc. is selling 19 television stations following the acquisition of Tribune Media Co.
The Week in OTT: YouTube ends plans for high-end shows; DAZN unveils annual pass: YouTube has dropped plans to produce its own Hollywood-quality scripted shows due to high production costs, while Sports streaming service DAZN raised its monthly rate in the U.S. by $10 and unveiled a $99.99 annual pass.
Economics of Internet: Demand for television on SVOD platforms: Parrot Analytics and Kagan analyze U.S. subscription video-on-demand libraries.
Economics of TV & Film: Competition continues to drive up sitcom budgets: A rising focus on original content from both TV networks and digital services has induced record levels of TV content production but has also resulted in skyrocketing budgets.
Economics of Advertising: Cable network Q4'18 ad revenue recap: Cable network programmers ended 2018 with solid fourth-quarter advertising revenue growth at most companies.
Multichannel Trends: Xfinity Flex, potential gateway for Comcast's subscription DTC service: Comcast Corp.'s recent service releases indicate a growing appetite to go after the fast-rising broadband-only segment. The top MSO counted 7.1 million nonvideo residential customers in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended March 22.
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