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Tribune, Charter resolve retrans spat; Alphabet board sued for alleged cover-up

Machine Learning and Credit Risk Modelling

OTT Helps To Offset Pay TV Losses for Video Security Vendors

5G Survey: Despite COVID-19 delays, operator roadmaps still lead to 5G

COVID-19 reduces U.S. residential smart meter shipments over the short term but long term still looks positive


Tribune, Charter resolve retrans spat; Alphabet board sued for alleged cover-up

Top News

* Tribune Media Co.-owned Tribune Broadcasting Co. LLC and Charter Communications Inc. said Jan. 11 that they have reached an agreement to restore Tribune Broadcasting's local TV stations and cable service WGN America (US) to Spectrum's cable systems. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, ended a blackout of 33 Tribune stations that affected 6 million Spectrum customers in 24 markets and also restored WGN America to 14 million Spectrum subscribers who lost access to the cable service on Jan. 2.

* Alphabet Inc.'s directors are facing lawsuits from shareholders for approving a $90 million exit payment to former Android head Andy Rubin and for allegedly covering up sexual misconduct claims against him. One of the complaints accused Google LLC co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin of allowing Rubin to "quietly resign" despite an internal investigation which reveals "credible" findings related to the sexual harassment allegations. Other defendants in the suit include venture capitalist John Doerr, investor Ram Shriram and Alphabet Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

* Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia introduced a bill Jan. 10 that would implement performance testing reporting requirements for subsidy recipients of a U.S. Federal Communications Commission program that helps fund voice and broadband services in unserved and high-cost areas. The bill, known as the "Connect America Fund Accountability Act of 2019," would require that any telecommunications carrier that receives funding from the FCC for its Connect America Fund program submit a report to the FCC disclosing testing results, which can include speed and latency tests.

CES 2019

* At a Jan. 10 CES panel on drone policy, an AT&T Inc.'s director of public policy, Kimberly Darrin, warned that drone and other technology-specific privacy laws can become "very outdated." Darrin also believes that the FCC can do more in helping drone technology flourish. Specifically, she believes that the commission can lift a restriction on operating cellular telephones on airborne devices in the 850 MHz band.

* As video content distribution evolves, new generations of consumers are shaping business strategy in ways boomers and Generation X never did. Speakers during a streaming video panel at CES 2019 agreed that Generation Z, the youngest generation just now arriving at consumer age, are native to streaming video, and their comfort with the streaming platforms requires new means of engagement.

* As U.S. regulators consider how to improve data privacy safeguards in the U.S., a landmark set of laws enacted in Europe in 2018 could serve as a guideline. At CES 2019, a panel of experts representing business, government and advocacy groups all agreed that more privacy safeguards are needed in the U.S., but the exact parameters of what should be enacted and how remained open to debate.

Streaming

* Amazon.com Inc.'s IMDb movie database launched IMDb Freedive, a free, ad-supported video streaming channel that offers a range of TV shows and films. The service, which can be accessed in the U.S. on IMDb's website via PCs, laptops and on all Amazon Fire TV devices, offers a range of TV series and films, along with IMDb's own original video series.

* Hulu LLC has developed a new, performance-based measurement product to help its advertisers measure the results of their ad campaigns on the streaming service, Adweek reports. The offering allows Hulu to take an advertiser's customer relationship management data and match it to its own campaign exposure data to determine information such as how many people purchased a product, downloaded an app or signed up for additional information after viewing the ads. Hulu's head of research, Julia DeTraglia, said the new system has been in beta for about six weeks with "several" partners.

* Netflix Inc. greenlit "Shadow and Bone," an eight-episode fantasy series based on Leigh Bardugo's best-selling Grishaverse books, according to an official release. Eric Heisserer will service as showrunner for the series, which follows a young soldier as she tries to unite her country.

Wireless

* U.S. wireless carriers and cable providers are all in a race to deliver next-generation connectivity, and the competition is already leading to squabbles over definitions of "real" 5G and even 10G services. Experts warn these branding battles could cause consumer confusion, but also say faster speeds are good for everyone.

* AT&T is ending all location aggregation services in the wake of a recent report highlighting the sale of mobile location data by third-party aggregators. "In light of recent reports about the misuse of location services, we have decided to eliminate all location aggregation services even those with clear consumer benefits," an AT&T spokesperson said. "We are immediately eliminating the remaining services and will be done in March."

* Sprint Corp. said it was the first cellular provider to transmit 5G data on the 2.5 GHz spectrum via its wireless network. The 5G trial, conducted in San Diego, was carried out in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies Inc. and Nokia Corp.

Broadcast

* With just over three weeks until the kickoff of Super Bowl LIII, CBS (US) has sold almost all of the inventory in the NFL championship game, driving what is expected to be a record revenue day for parent CBS Corp. At CBS Super Bowl media day on Jan. 10 in New York, Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO, said that while the Feb. 3 contest from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will deliver the biggest audience of the year on the broadcast network, the entire company is supporting the title tilt, with its TV stations, entertainment and syndication arms.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.55% to 26,667.27, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.97% to 20,359.70.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.24% to 6,926.01, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.07% to 935.47.

On the macro front

The Treasury budget, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report and the CPI consensus are 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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Tencent, NetEase left out of China's new game approvals; Norway mulls Huawei ban: Tencent Holdings Ltd. missed out again in China's second list of approved video game titles, while Norway is considering measures to protect itself against potential security risks posed by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Softbank cuts WeWork investment to US$2B; Tokyo Century pumps more funds in Grab: U.S.-based coworking giant WeWork Cos. Inc. secured an additional US$2 billion investment from SoftBank Group Corp., while GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. received additional funding from Tokyo Century.

Hires and Fires: AT&T planning job cuts in 2019; CBS News gets new president: AT&T appears to be gearing up for a round of layoffs in 2019, while CBS News appointed Susan Zirinsky president and senior executive producer.

European 5G roadmap slowed by market fragmentation, industry skepticism: As telecom operators in the U.S. and Asia charge ahead in rolling out 5G wireless networks in 2019, most of their European counterparts are lagging amid challenging market dynamics that make investing in costly network upgrades more difficult.

Featured research

Economics of Advertising: Hispanic, international nets deliver coverage ratings growth in November 2018: For November 2018, most of the top 10 non-Nielsen-rated networks in terms of coverage ratings growth were channels that served up foreign-language programming, based on data from comScore Inc.'s TV Essentials.

Wireless Investor: 28 GHz auction delivers rounding-error gains into day 30: The 28 GHz auction is creeping through its second week of 2019 with little progress. Dollars raised to date in January of $4 million are less than 1% above the closing bids in December. U.S. Treasury receipts were at $694 million after round 117.

Economics of Internet: Casualties mount in the OTT graveyard in 2018: The year 2018 was a big one for over-the-top video in the U.S. on virtually every front — including the record number of shuttered services that fell by the wayside.

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