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NBC News plans streaming service; Yankees, others to buy YES Network for $3.4B

Top News

* Comcast Corp.'s NBC News is gearing up to launch a new streaming service, called NBC News Now, in early May, Broadcasting & Cable reports. Speaking at an event, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim said the free, ad-supported streaming service will offer eight hours of programming, including live updates.

* Shares in Facebook Inc. saw movement this week after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a completely new vision for the social media giant. Elsewhere, T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. slipped amid another regulatory delay in the approval of the companies' pending merger.

* Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent promise to make the company more "privacy-focused" does not address underlying concerns around its business practices and may just be a tactic to avoid looming regulation, sources said. In a blog post, the CEO outlined Facebook's plans to shift toward being a platform that places a greater emphasis on encrypted communications rather than public content.

* The New York Yankees joined forces with Inc., Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Blackstone Group LP to buy YES Network (US) regional sports network for $3.4 billion, FOX Business reports, citing sources with knowledge of the details. The sale of YES Network will mark the first of the 22 regional sports networks to be unloaded by Walt Disney Co. as a condition of completing its 21st Century Fox Inc. acquisition.


* Apple Inc. could launch an augmented reality headset or glasses in 2020, reports, citing analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The tech giant is expected to start mass producing the device as soon as the fourth quarter or by the second quarter of 2020, Kuo said.

* Microsoft Corp. has sued Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd., formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., for failing to comply with a patent-licensing agreement from 2013, reports. In a court filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Microsoft claimed that Foxconn has been unable to provide twice-yearly royalty reports concerning certain unspecified products and has not made royalty payments on time.

* Proving to be a foundational element for what Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, coined The Fourth Industrial Revolution, AI will again be the topic de jour this year at one of the largest tech conferences of the year. South by Southwest, or SXSW, often represents a touchstone for startups and burgeoning innovation in tech and media.

Film & TV

* Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has let go of 20 people, Variety reports. The job cuts mostly affected the company's business operation, with a few affecting the television division.

* Disney's "Captain Marvel" raked in $153 million to top the domestic box office for the March 10 weekend, followed by Universal's "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" at No. 2 with $14.7 million and Lions Gate's "Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral" at No. 3 with $12.1 million, according to comScore Inc. Warner Bros.' "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" was No. 4 with $3.8 million, while 20th Century Fox's "Alita: Battle Angel" took the fifth spot with $3.2 million. "Captain Marvel" pulled in $455 million at the worldwide box office.

* Buoyed by heated races in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, 36 gubernatorial contests and spending on various issues, broadcast station group operators posted higher political advertising revenue during the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the 2014 and 2016 cycles. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar Media Group Inc., Gray Television Inc., Tribune Media Co., E.W. Scripps Co. and TEGNA Inc. all posted increases as local stations remain effective outlets for political candidates.


* Former STX Entertainment executive David Kosse will join Netflix Inc. as head of its overseas film division in April, reports. Kosse, who previously served STX as president of international, will oversee all international movie production and acquisitions for the streaming giant in this newly created role.

* Netflix will stream "My First First Love," a Korean romcom original series, globally on April 18. The series follows an unexpected love and personal growth, depicted through relationships formed by five young adults who find their "first-time" adulthood rather difficult and emotionally challenging, the company said.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.97% to 28,503.30. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.47% to 21,125.09.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.75% to 7,157.46 and the Euronext 100 was up 0.28% to 1,016.53.

On the macro front

The retail sales and the business inventories reports are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Channel 4 eyes joining BBC, ITV venture; UK urges stricter rules over tech firms: Channel 4 (UK) is looking to join the British Broadcasting Corp. and ITV PLC's Britbox venture in the U.K., while the British Parliament's House of Lords seeks to impose added regulations on big tech companies.

Hires and Fires Asia-Pacific: Alibaba rules out layoffs this year; NetEase, Didi Chuxing to cut staff: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ruled out the possibility of job cuts in 2019 despite an ongoing trade rift between the U.S. and China, while NetEase Inc. and Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. are planning to shed up to 50% and 15% of their staff, respectively.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Huawei in uphill battle against US government; China's Panda TV goes bankrupt: Legal experts believe Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. faces an uphill battle in making its case against the U.S. government, while Chinese live streaming site Panda TV is set to file for bankruptcy.

Data Dispatch: 'Captain Marvel' flies in to save a box office in distress: "Captain Marvel" is expected to soar to nine figures, attempting a week 10 rescue of a box office that is down over 25% year over year.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: Apple jobs in San Diego; Huawei lawsuit against US: Stories about Apple adding 1,200 jobs in San Diego and Huawei's lawsuit against the U.S. government facing long odds are among the editor's top story picks for the week ended March 8.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, most read: WarnerMedia's overhaul; YouTube ad scandals: Stories about AT&T Inc. positioning WarnerMedia for streaming future and a small broadband provider turning to Facebook for next-gen internet speeds are included in the most read stories for the week ended March 8.

Featured research

Technology: Global Q4'18 smartphone shipments decline YOY despite holiday sales boost: Fourth-quarter 2018 shipments, boosted by holiday sales, increased sequentially but still declined 4.8% year over year.

Consumer Insights: Having conquered the US market, Amazon focuses on Europe: Recent Kagan Consumer Insights surveys show that nearly three-quarters (72%) of internet adults in the U.S. and the majority of internet adults in Italy (67%), Germany (52%) and the U.K. (50%) use online Amazon e-commerce related services.

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