* CBS Corp. is acquiring Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s 50% stake in POP (US) to assume 100% ownership of the cable network, Broadcasting & Cable reports, citing an internal memo. Pop will become part of CBS Corp.'s cable network segment. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
* Only scattered advertising units remain in the upcoming linear presentation of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. Meanwhile, rights holders CBS Sports and AT&T Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting System Inc. are in better shape on the digital ad sales side with NCAA March Madness Live, network executives said.
* Netflix Inc. will be "doubling down" on interactive storytelling over the next couple of years following the success of "Black Mirror" spinoff "Bandersnatch," Todd Yellin, the company's vice president of product, said while speaking at an event in Mumbai. Yellin added that the streaming giant could pursue a "wacky comedy" or a romance instead of relying on a science fiction, or dark content, Variety reports.
Internet & OTT
* PBS (US) will launch its "PBS Living" streaming service on Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video Channels on March 14, The Hollywood Reporter writes, citing a company statement. The $2.99-a-month subscription video-on-demand offering will feature classic PBS series like "The French Chef," "This Old House" and "Antiques Roadshow," in addition to recent programming.
* Spotify Technology SA has filed an anti-competition complaint against Apple Inc. with the European Commission, Variety reports, citing an official blog post. Daniel Ek, the company's co-founder, chairman and CEO, said Apple introduced rules to the App Store that limited choice and stifled innovation at the expense of user experience. Ek added that Spotify filed the complaint with the EC after failing to resolve the issue with the iPhone maker.
* Instagram Inc. founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom struggled for years to implement tools and features to monetize the app and enable users to monetize their own brands, walking a line between success and authenticity, the pair said during a March 11 SXSW keynote panel. Krieger and Systrom stepped down from the company in 2018 to hand the platform to Facebook Inc., leaving one of the world's most popular social media platforms with hopes that it would retain its roots as an online venue for authenticity.
* News Corp. and German media publisher Axel Springer SE are among the media companies considering acquiring Acuris, formerly known as Mergermarket Ltd., London's Financial Times reports, citing people involved in the process. An auction for the sale of Acuris, owner of the Debtwire news and data service, will reportedly commence this week.
* Netflix will premiere Korean anthology series "Persona" globally in April. The series is composed of four short films, in which Korean singer Lee Ji-eun, or IU, will play four personas, the company said.
Film & TV
* Tribune Media Co.'s shareholders approved the company's planned sale to Nexstar Media Group Inc. Nexstar in November 2018 agreed to buy all outstanding shares of Tribune Media for $46.50 per share in a cash transaction valued at $6.4 billion, including the assumption of Tribune Media's outstanding debt. The deal is expected to close late in the third quarter.
* Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox Inc. expect Disney's pending acquisition of Fox assets to become effective at 12:02 a.m. ET on March 20. Holders of 21st Century Fox common stock have until 5 p.m. ET on March 14 to elect the form of consideration they wish to receive in the acquisition, the companies said.
Regulation & Policy
* The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on March 12 unanimously agreed to streamline the regulatory review process around reauthorizing television satellite stations when they are assigned or transferred as part of a deal. According to the agency, these stations often serve viewers in predominantly rural and underserved areas.
* T-Mobile US Inc. CEO John Legere told members of Congress on March 12 that he was unaware of any attempts by President Donald Trump, his administration or campaign to contact the U.S. Department of Justice about T-Mobile's proposed merger with Sprint Corp. The questions — which came during a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law — follow a March report in The New Yorker that said Trump attempted to influence the DOJ's review of the AT&T/Time Warner Inc. merger.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.39% to 28,807.45. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.99% to 21,290.24.
In Europe around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.05% to 7,154.95 and the Euronext 100 was 0.24% higher at 1,023.73.
On the macrofront
The durable goods orders, PPI-FD, construction spending, e-commerce retail sales and EIA petroleum status reports 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.
The Daily Dose Europe: EU to focus on global digital tax plan; Free, Altice run into carriage dispute: The European Union scrapped its plan for an EU-wide digital tax over a global-wide scheme, while Free may discontinue broadcasting Altice channels.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: News Corp. Australia calls for Google breakup; Netflix to add more anime content: News Corp. Australia has called on the country's competition regulator to break up Google LLC, while Netflix struck partnerships with three Japanese production studios.
Multichannel Trends: Cable's wireline voice segment racks up first annual loss in 2018: The cable sector logged its first full year of residential phone losses in 2018, while the telcos racked up another seven-digit decline in access lines.
Global Multichannel: Ireland operators push for high-speed broadband as subscriber growth slows: Broadband subscription growth has slowed in the last few years, with 2018 at just 2.0%, while revenues continue to see strong growth at 8.5%, driven by high prices and increasing high-speed internet adoption.
Technology: Global set-top box shipments down almost 10% in 2018: The global set-top box market experienced a tough year in 2018 as demand for boxes by pay TV service providers decreased markedly.
Economics of Internet: Profile: Hulu SVOD (US): Hulu LLC had a big year in 2018, spurred on by notable original content such as "The Handmaid's Tale" and pricing incentives such as its Black Friday deal for new subs. It ended the year with more than 25 million subscribers.
Multichannel Trends: Q4'18 top cable MSO table: video, HSD, voice subscribers: Kagan's fourth-quarter 2018 top cable MSO table is now live and can be downloaded in Excel format.
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