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Netflix planning about 700 originals; TiVo exploring strategic alternatives

Top News

* Netflix Inc. is planning to have about 700 original movies and series, Netflix CFO David Wells said. He said the total includes 80 originals in the global category that will be different from television series that "you might describe as sort of global, like "Orange Is The New Black" or "Narcos.""

* TiVo Corp. shares were up more than 12% in after-hours trading Feb. 27 after the company said in its fourth-quarter 2017 earnings release that it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a potential sale. The strategic options "range from transformative acquisitions that would accelerate our growth, to combining our business with other leading players, to becoming a private company."

* In the wake of Altice USA Inc.'s six-week standoff with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s Starz premium cable networks, the cable operator expects its first-quarter results to be the "low point of growth" in 2018, according to Altice USA CFO Charles Stewart. Speaking during an earnings conference call, Stewart said Altice USA expects to record total revenue growth of about 2.5% to 3% in 2018 as compared to 2017, when the company recorded full-year revenue of $9.33 billion. But Stewart noted this growth "is likely to be more second-half-weighted."

* With the company considering launching an over-the-top streaming service in the U.S. as it nears the end of its pending acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., Discovery Communications Inc. President and CEO David Zaslav was encouraged by the performance of the company's direct-to-consumer sports initiatives in Europe during the Pyeongchang Olympics. Zaslav, speaking on the company's Feb. 27 earnings call with analysts, said Discovery surpassed the 1 million subscriber mark with digital sports app Eurosport Player, which he called "our sports Netflix product," and its DPlay OTT service.

TV networks

* According to industry experts, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s recent plan to divest a number of stations in connection with its pending Tribune Media Co. purchase is as much about preserving the station group's power as it is about resolving regulatory concerns. As originally contemplated, Sinclair sought to buy Tribune's 44 television stations in a transaction valued at $6.6 billion, a combination that would have given Sinclair unprecedented reach and put it in violation of the Federal Communications Commission's media ownership rules.

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit barred TVEyes, a business-to-business service provider, from offering access to content from 21st Century Fox Inc.'s FOX News Channel (US) to clients, Multichannel News reports. Upholding an injunction, the appeals court said copying the copyrighted material and offering it for a price is not fair use.

Internet & OTT

* EPIX (US) is planning to launch a direct-to-consumer video subscription service, Variety reports, citing EPIX Executive Vice President and General Manager Monty Sarhan. "It's on our roadmap and we are working towards it," Sarhan reportedly said, without disclosing pricing plans or a launch date for the stand-alone service.

* EPIX is offering movies and shows in the 4K format on affiliate video-on-demand platforms and apps on television-connected devices that support 4K/UHD resolution, Multichannel News reports. The 4K library includes titles from the "James Bond" franchise.

* Apple Inc. has picked up a psychological thriller series that has been written by Tony Basgallop and will be executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, Variety reports. The tech giant has ordered 10 episodes for the series.

Advertising

* Andrew Bosworth, vice president of virtual and augmented reality products and hardware at Facebook Inc., disclosed a chart indicating how much money was spent by U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign. Bosworth tweeted that Trump spent "slightly higher [cost per mille] prices on most days rather than lower as has been reported."

Technology

* Bill Stillwell, lead program manager at Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox Platform, said users have played more than 840 million hours of Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One console, according to an official blog post. The current backward-compatible library includes more than 460 Xbox 360 games, 11 Xbox One X Enhanced Xbox 360 titles and 13 Original Xbox games.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 1.36% to 30,844.72 and the Nikkei 225 fell 1.44% to 22,068.24.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.26% to 7,263.25, and the Euronext 100 slid 0.46% to 1,027.36.

On the macro front

The Chicago PMI report, Pending Home Sales Index and the EIA Petroleum Status Report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Fox 'remains committed' to Sky offer; Comcast open to share Sky with others: Fox said it "remains committed" to its £11.7 billion offer for Sky, while Comcast is open to co-owning Sky with Fox or Walt Disney Co.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Baidu's iQiyi files for $1.5B US IPO; Google, Airtel to offer low-cost 4G phones: Baidu Inc.'s iQiyi.com Inc. filed for a U.S. initial public offering of up to US$1.5 billion of its class A ordinary shares, while Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Google Inc. are joining hands to offer Android Go-powered, low-cost 4G smartphones in India.

Conference Chatter: Mobile World Congress: Telecoms industry warns against overregulation in Europe: Telecoms leaders attending Mobile World Congress warned that too much regulation in the industry is undermining operators' ability to invest in future networks.

The Program Guide: Global edition: Netflix orders 1st Arabic drama; HBO Europe forms 'Hackerville': Netflix ordered its first Arabic original series, while HBO Europe is embarking on its first international co-production.

Featured research

Broadcast Investor: ATSC 3.0 making real-world progress post-Winter Olympics: The next-generation broadcast standard, ATSC 3.0, has entered the launch phase for broadcasters, with the Dallas and Phoenix TV markets testing the first U.S. iteration. However, there are still challenges remaining.

Broadcast Investor: Broadcast TV political ad revenue projections, 2018-2027: High-profile topics of healthcare, immigration and tax reform have spiked interest among voters, and with control of Congress and redistricting looming, November 2018 will have a heightened importance to both major political parties.

Global Multichannel: Comcast's Sky bid at 12.7x forward EBITDA roils M&A landscape: Comcast's proposed $40.36 billion acquisition of Sky would create the world's second-largest pay TV distributor while sharpening its content.

Global Multichannel: Global markets update – North America, Canada: Kagan has recently updated Global Multichannel & Broadband analysis for one market and one regional summary.

Economics of Internet: Hulu, Netflix dominate year-end 2017 content viewing metrics: The rapid changes to the online video space over the last few years have boosted viewing on non-desktop devices, which was the case for Hulu LLC, DramaFever and TED in the second half of 2017, according to comScore Video Metrix data.

Economics of Internet: Broadcast nets measure the importance of mobile viewing in 2017: For the broadcast entities that measured non-desktop online content viewing in 2017, it is clear that mobile and connected-TV devices were important and drove significant amounts of viewing, according to comScore Video Metrix data.

Broadcast Investor: Public trading multiples: Radio outperforms TV in broader market volatility: As of Feb. 23, radio stock prices had climbed 1.5% month-to-date while TV stock prices fell 4.5% month-to-date as inflation concerns and higher interest rates created huge swings in the broader markets.

Technology: OTT user experience determined in part by the app: With an increasing number of over-the-top offerings available to consumers, the usability of the applications becomes an important differentiator for providers.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.