* Testifying in court in support of the merger between T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., DISH Network Corp. Chairman Charlie Ergen revealed he has letters from three banks that are ready to inject $10 billion to fund the company's new wireless network, The Wall Street Journal reports. During the trial, Ergen defended his plan against accusations that he makes shallow promises regarding his intent to start a wireless service.
* Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., urged the U.S. Congress to take action against Facebook Inc. after the social media company admitted that it still tracks users' location even if they have turned off location tracking. Facebook said even when location tracking is turned off, it can infer users' general locations from clues like locations they tag in photos as well as their devices' IP addresses, CNBC reports, citing Facebook's response to an inquiry from Hawley and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
* The U.S. government is finalizing a set of five rules to limit exports of sophisticated technology to adversaries, such as China, Reuters reports, citing a document. The rules will cover products like quantum computing and 3D printing technologies.
Broadcast & TV
* FOX (US)'s coverage of Super Bowl LIV will be the first NFL championship game produced in the 1080p HD range format. The network's 1080p HDR production will also extend to its studio programming, as well as the Super Bowl halftime show, featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
* Discovery Inc. bought Latin American Golf SL, which operates 24-hour pay TV channel Golf Channel Latin America, from Simple Networks and Inversiones Bahía Ltd. affiliate Fornaluz Productions SA. The financial details of the transaction were undisclosed.
* Cox Enterprises Inc. closed the sale of Cox Media Group's portfolio of television and radio stations, Ohio assets, and its affiliated CoxReps and Gamut national advertising businesses to a new media company that is majority owned by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc.
Internet & OTT
* Netflix Inc.'s growth is heavily dependent on trends outside of North America, but U.S. price increases have contributed to keeping its domestic revenue dominant, according to a detailed regional breakdown of the company's membership and revenue. The company reported 25.1% year-over-year growth in revenue for U.S. and Canada in the third quarter, while revenue from Latin America grew by 31.9%, Asia-Pacific revenue was up 53.7%, and EMEA grew by 42.1%.
* Facebook is introducing a new pilot program to allow fact-checkers to rapidly check if a representative group of Facebook users found a claim to be corroborated or contradicted. Under the program, community reviewers will work as researchers to find information to fact check claims faster.
* YouTube LLC is introducing three personalized playlists, called Discover Mix, New Release Mix and Your Mix, TechCrunch.com reports. All three playlists are available to YouTube Music users worldwide.
* Apple Inc. picked up the rights to docuseries, "Visible: Out on Television," Variety reports. The series, which is created by Ryan White and Jessica Hargrave and executive produced by Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, will premiere Feb. 14, 2020, on Apple TV+.
* Analysts say the U.S. Department of Defense could reevaluate and rebid the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Infrastructure Defense contract award for Microsoft Corp. after a bid protest by Amazon Web Services Inc., though the outcome of such a process remains uncertain.
* Apple tapped Zach Kahn to head public relations for its podcast business, effective January 2020, Variety reports. Kahn was previously associated with Vox Media Inc.
* Marchex Inc. acquired enterprise text and messaging sales engagement and analytics company Sonar Technologies Inc. for $12.5 million in cash and stock. Marchex also appointed John Roswech as chief revenue officer of the company.
* Amazon.com Inc. unit Audible Inc. appointed Bob Carrigan CEO of the company, Variety reports. The company's current CEO, Don Katz, will become executive chairman of Audible.
* Asset manager Attention Capital acquired 100% of the business of female-focused multimedia business Girlboss Media Inc., TechCrunch reports, citing a Girlboss spokesperson. Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso will join the company as a founder partner.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 0.15% to 27,844.21, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.55% to 23,934.43.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.13% to 7,535.25, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.05% to 1,141.47.
On the macro front
The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA petroleum status report 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.
The Daily Dose Europe: Tele Columbus CEO exit; Google, Looker Data deal probe; Telefónica on Huawei: Timm Degenhardt is stepping down as CEO of Germany's Tele Columbus, the U.K.'s antitrust regulator began probing Google LLC's acquisition of Looker Data Sciences Inc., and Telefónica SA will reduce its dependence on Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. equipment for its 5G network.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Netflix growth in Asia; Japan's tech vendor contracts; Fujifilm's bid: Netflix provided data showing Asia-Pacific is one of its fastest-growing markets, Japan is looking to toughen scrutiny of vendor contracts of tech giants, and FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. is considering buying Hitachi Ltd.'s diagnostic imaging unit.
Hires and Fires Asia-Pacific: Lenovo founder to retire; Xiaomi reshuffles top execs; Zee chairman exits: Lenovo Group Ltd. founder Liu Chuanzhi is set to retire, Xiaomi Corp. made several changes to its senior management, and Subhash Chandra stepped down as chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
Conference Chatter: Streamer DAZN to be 'aggressive' when fighting for sports rights: DAZN Executive Vice President for North America Joe Markowski said "the flirting season" with top domestic pro leagues is underway.
5G will be the star of CES 2020: The largest consumer technology show in the world will kick off Jan. 7, 2020. A number of technologies will be spotlighted, with one thing binding them all: 5G mobile broadband.
Broadcast Investor: Retrans renewals generate higher average per-sub rates: Resolutions to major retrans disruptions in the third quarter improved average per-sub rates for covered broadcasters despite the drop in the legacy multichannel subscribers, especially for DIRECTV and DISH Network Corp.
Multichannel Trends: Traditional multichannel plummets in rural areas: A 21-percentage-point gap separates multichannel penetration in the nation's least and most populated counties.
Economics of Internet: US SVOD pricing and features, H2'19: Competition in the U.S. subscription video streaming race heated up dramatically in late 2019 with Disney+ and Apple TV+ entering the market, leading to an increased focus on pricing, features and availability across top entertainment services.
Technology: New iPhone pre-orders could not stop shipment decline to North America in Q3'19: Apple announced new iPhones in the third quarter, but pre-orders were unenthusiastic, while Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s revamped A-series and new Note 10 lineup helped drive its shipment growth.
Economics of Internet: Sports OTT in Western Europe: A vast array of options for the sports fan: During the past few decades, sports have been driving the uptake of multichannel services. Recently though, we have witnessed a rapid increase in the number of available sports streaming video services that target different consumer demographics.
Global Multichannel: Portugal fiber to reach 50% market share in 2019: Portugal has been at the forefront of fiber development in Western Europe, as DSL fades to less than a 15% share of the market in 2019.
Global Multichannel: Heated price competition pushes Uganda's pay TV penetration to 50%: Multichannel penetration of TV households in Uganda more than doubled in the last three years, reaching 48.1% by the end of 2018, equating to 2.2 million subscribers. Nevertheless, only half of the country's nearly 9 million households have TV sets.
Wireless Investor: 2019 LatAm groups report: Top groups' mobile ARPU down by 5% in 2018: Economic headwinds and the rapid decline of prepaid subs let to ARPU declines in the six LatAm mobile markets we cover. The top LatAm mobile network operators saw ARPU decline, with AT&T falling the fastest in 2018 despite subscriber additions.
Economics of Internet: State of Cambodian subscription online video: Heightened localization initiatives remain crucial for subscription over-the-top services in Cambodia as they strive to sustain paying subscribers.
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