* SoftBank Group Corp. and Deutsche Telekom AG reached a broad agreement to merge Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. and plan to announce the deal without any immediate asset divestitures. SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom are discussing merging their respective telecom subsidiaries through a stock swap and are expected to start hammering out ownership ratios and other terms soon, according to a report by The Nikkei.
* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Studios backed out of an untitled project that it was developing with The Weinstein Co. amid the onslaught of sexual-assault allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, the Los Angeles Times reports. The project's director David Russell and actors Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, who were part of the $160 million project, also released a statement in support of the move.
* Viacom Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. agreed to extend their renewal deadline for a short period of time, Reuters reports, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. The source said the companies are working to "reach a mutually beneficial deal."
* TV stocks traded down across the industry as President Donald Trump called for the revocation of a broadcaster's license, Charter and Viacom fought for a carriage contract, and analysts expressed doubt about TV advertising growth. Investors sold out of Comcast Corp. in particular, driving that stock down 5.3% for the five trading days ended Oct. 13, but losses occurred across the broadcast and multichannel video programming distributor space.
Internet & OTT
* Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey said in a series of tweets that the company decided to take a "more aggressive stance" on its rules and their enforcement and will roll out new measures on hate speech, violence and unwanted sexual advances "in the next few weeks." Dorsey's tweets came amid criticism of the suspension of actress Rose McGowan's Twitter account, Bloomberg News reports.
* The deadline for implementing the European Union's tougher digital privacy and security measures is less than one year away, but privacy experts in the U.S. still remain divided on the best policy for internet companies going forward.
* India's leading over-the-top services, Hotstar and Voot, are unfazed by the aggressive push into local original content by the likes of Netflix Inc. and Amazon's Prime Video, executives said at the Media360 conference in Mumbai. The recent big money deals by the U.S. streaming giants is a necessity to survive in the Indian market where nearly 90% of the premium content is available for free.
* The Coalition to Save Local Media asked the Federal Communications Commission to reject the proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Tribune Media Co., according to a post on the group's website. The group argued that the deal would stifle local and independent media voices and does not seem to be in the public interest.
* AT&T Inc.'s DIRECTV and Dispatch Broadcasting struck a "fair" deal to resolve a retransmission dispute between the companies regarding Dispatch's WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, and WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, according to posts on the stations' websites. The deal restored the CBS (US) and NBC (US)-affiliates on DIRECTV and U-Verse systems.
* Most major media companies are expected to report year-over-year improvement in top- and bottom-lines, despite declining subscriber bases and soft advertising market. Expectations for sequential comparisons, though, are more mixed.
* Qualcomm Inc. sued to block Apple Inc.'s manufacturing and sale of iPhones in China, Bloomberg News reports. In the lawsuits filed in a Beijing intellectual property court, Qualcomm claimed Apple infringed on three of its non-standard essential patents, which cover power management and a touch-screen technology called Force Touch that Apple uses in iPhones, a Qualcomm spokeswoman reportedly said.
* Denise Young Smith, Apple's vice president of inclusion and diversity, apologized for comments she made at an event on diversity and inclusion in an email to staffers, TechCrunch.com reports. The part of the conversation at the event that reportedly caused concern was about a story Smith said she "often" tells people to explain diversity regarding "12 white blue-eyed blonde men" being in a room and all being diverse with different life experiences and perspectives.
* Universal's "Happy Death Day" topped the domestic box office for the Oct. 15 weekend with $26.5 million, followed by Warner Bros.' "Blade Runner 2049" at No. 2 with $15.1 million and STX Entertainment's "The Foreigner" at No. 3 with $12.8 million, according to comScore Inc. Warner Bros.' "It" was No. 4 with $6 million, while 20th Century Fox's "The Mountain Between Us" was No. 5 with $5.7 million.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.76% to 28692.80. The Nikkei 225 added 0.47% to 21,255.56. In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.06% to 7,540.06, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.06% to 1,048.84.
On the macro front
The Empire State manufacturing survey and the Treasury budget report are due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Chinese search engine files for US IPO; Qualcomm wants iPhone banned in China: Chinese online search provider Sogou Inc. filed a registration statement with the SEC for its U.S. IPO, while Qualcomm filed lawsuits against Apple in China to block the smartphone maker's manufacturing and sale of iPhones in the country.
Data Dispatch: 'Death Day' not expected to bring life to box office: "Happy Death Day" from Blumhouse Productions is expected to lead among new box office wide releases for the Oct. 13 weekend, but it is tracking below other horror hits from the independent studio.
The Short Report: Straight Path leads communications short interest decliners: Straight Path Communications Inc. posted the biggest drop in short interest relative to shares outstanding among Kagan-covered communications companies between Sept. 15 and Sept. 29.
The Short Report: Pandora leads new media short interest decliners in late September: Pandora Media Inc. saw the largest decrease in short interest relative to shares outstanding among Kagan-covered new media companies between Sept. 15 and Sept. 29.
The Short Report: Regal Entertainment short interest decreases in late September: Regal Entertainment Group saw the largest drop in short interest relative to shares outstanding among Kagan-covered media and entertainment companies between Sept. 15 and Sept. 29.
The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: SeaWorld's deal prospects; Netflix's price hike: Stories about a possible SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. acquisition, Netflix price hikes and Viacom-Charter carriage dispute are among the media and communications editor's top five picks for the week ended Oct. 13.
The Best Of: Media & Comm, most read: Online video's role in content market: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents the five most read media and communications articles for the week ended Oct. 13, including stories about the online video market, President Donald Trump's tweet about NBC, and regulatory scrutiny of esports.
Anime-streaming platform eyes IPO; Alibaba scores China rights to Pac-12 content: A Chinese platform for streaming Japanese anime is planning to list its shares in the U.S., while Pac-12 Conference tapped Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to distribute Pac-12 Networks sports content in China.
The Program Guide: Global edition: Apple to revive Spielberg series; BBC, RTL embark on 'Missions': The Program Guide's global edition highlights recent programming announcements from various networks and online video platforms around the world.
Economics of Internet: Launches slow in crowded US OTT space: The over-the-top space continued to attract new prominent, premium services in 2017, but at a slower rate than in the past few years.
Multichannel Trends: Layer3 TV operating in 5 DMAs with over 77.7% broadband penetration: Layer3 TV Inc. five operating designated market areas hosted 13.3 million broadband subscribers as of the second quarter.
Economics of Internet: 5G, revenue repatriation and sports could alter evolution of TV: A panel of Wall Street analysts and industry executives gathered Oct. 11 at the Digital Hollywood conference in Los Angeles to discuss the future of TV.
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