* Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. dismissed media reports that it offered "favorable or preferential treatment" to President-elect Donald Trump during his election campaign. In a statement, Scott Livingston, vice president of news at Sinclair, said the company offered both major presidential candidates the same opportunities on a regular basis, and there was no deal on the "tone, tenor, or subject of the interviews."
* As expected, Tribune Media Co. inked an agreement to sell substantially all of its digital and data business operations, comprising Gracenote video, music and sports, to Nielsen Holdings for $560 million in cash. Tribune Media said it will retain ownership of the business-to-consumer websites, Covers.com and ProSportsDaily.com, and expects the deal to close during the first quarter of 2017.
The European Commission have sent an antitrust complaint to Facebook Inc. for allegedly providing "incorrect or misleading information" when it sought the agency's approval to acquire WhatsApp messaging service in 2014, Bloomberg News reports, citing an emailed statement. The social network has until Jan. 31, 2017, to respond to the notice.
* Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook addressed concerns in the media about the tech giant's plans for desktops in a posting to an employee message board, TechCrunch.com reports. Cook said Apple has plans for "great desktops" in the future and believes they are "really important, and in some cases critical, to people."
* Microsoft Corp. teamed up with an eye institute in India to launch a research group focused on eye care. According to an official blog post, the group will use artificial intelligence to help in the elimination of avoidable blindness and scale delivery of eye-care services worldwide.
* Meanwhile, Minecraft is now available on Apple TV for $19.99, TheVerge.com reports. Minecraft: Apple TV Edition comes with a number of DLC packs, including the Holiday 2015, Town Folk, and City Folk skin packs, and the Plastic, Natural, Cartoon, and Festive 2016 mash-ups.
Internet & OTT
* Security experts believe Yahoo! Inc.'s recent move requiring users to reset their passwords following a recently reported cyberattack may put the company's proposed deal with Verizon Communications Inc. in jeopardy, The Wall Street Journal reports. Experts reportedly said asking users to change their account passwords and security questions and answers for accounts could force some to stop using a service or could lead to a decline in engagement with the internet company's websites and services.
* Facebook unveiled group video chat for its Messenger app. The new feature started rolling out to Android and Apple's iOS devices on Dec. 19, and will also be available on the desktop version of Messenger worldwide, the company said.
* Yahoo discontinued its mobile travel assistant Yahoo Radar at the start of December, VentureBeat.com reports, citing a company representative. The app was shuttered as part of Yahoo's review of its product policy.
* Altice NV unit Altice USA is setting up a separate company for its technical staff, Multichannel News reports. Altice said the new company, called Altice Technical Services US, would help offer better training and top-notch customer service, while a labor union believes it will be used to cut jobs.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng dropped 0.47% to 21,729.06, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.53% to 19,494.53.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.16% to 7,028.14, and the Euronext 100 lifted 0.36% to 928.99.
On the macro front
The Redbook index is due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: CBS eyes Sony Pictures; Indonesia rejects Google's tax settlement: CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves reportedly traveled to Japan to push a possible deal for the Sony Corp. unit, while the Indonesian government said Google's offer to settle their ongoing tax dispute was too small.
The Mediator: Programmers take aim at Nielsen's Total Content Ratings: Executives expressed concerns about the Nielsen product's accuracy and readiness as its scheduled syndicated release date nears.
The week in OTT: Bollywood star joins Netflix; T-Mobile offers free DIRECTV Now: Netflix Inc. signed a content deal with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's production house, while T-Mobile US Inc. is luring AT&T Wireless customers with a free one-year of the DIRECTV Now service.
M&A Replay: Fox, Sky agree on takeover terms; Google buys Cronologics: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. media and communications deal announcements and completions from Dec. 12 to Dec. 16.
M&A Replay: European deals through Dec. 16: 21st Century Fox, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Dec. 12 to Dec. 16.
VR Focus: Market leaders reach high, differ on strategies: Samsung, Sony and HTC have each taken a different approach with their VR headset releases over the past year, to varying degrees of success.
The Daily Dose Europe: Vivendi to boost Mediaset stake; Hubert Burda buying Radio Times: Vivendi SA said it intended to increase its stake in Mediaset within the limits of 30% of the share capital and voting rights, while Germany's Hubert Burda is reportedly about to buy Radio Times for £260 million.
Economics of Networks: Cable Program Investor: Table of contents for Issue No. 229, published December 2016.
Best of SNL: SNL Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from SNL Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended Dec. 16.
The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.