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Amazon bags 7 Oscar nominations; USITC to probe Nokia's complaint against Apple

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Amazon bags 7 Oscar nominations; USITC to probe Nokia's complaint against Apple

Top News

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Studios' "Manchester by the Sea" was nominated for six Academy Awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including the first-ever nod for best picture for a streaming service. Amazon also scored a seventh Oscar nomination for "The Salesman" in the foreign-language film category.

* The U.S. International Trade Commission is launching an investigation into a complaint by Nokia Technologies against Apple Inc., Reuters reports. The Nokia Corp. unit, which has sought a cease and desist order and a limited exclusion order in the case, accused the iPhone maker of importing smart phones, tablets and other devices that infringed upon its patents.

Technology

* The European Union is "seriously" looking into Oracle Corp.'s complaint against Google Inc.'s changes in privacy policy, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing an EU official. The Alphabet Inc. unit's policy change in June has allegedly altered the way it handles users' web browsing and email data.

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied the U. S. government's petition to rehear its case against Microsoft Corp. over warrants for emails stored overseas, according to a court filing. The court voted 4-4 for reconsidering in banc, or before the full bench, its previous ruling that the U.S. government cannot make the tech giant produce customer emails stored on servers located outside the U.S.

* Microsoft appointed Kevin Scott to the newly created post of chief technology officer. Scott, who is now part of the company's senior leadership team, will continue to play an active role at LinkedIn Corp. as senior vice president of infrastructure and remain a member of LinkedIn's executive management team, the company said.

* Apple said its talks with the Indian government about further expanding its local operations were "constructive," Reuters reports, citing a company statement. The talks come as the tech giant had sought tax concessions and policy exceptions for bringing its manufacturing operations to India.

Internet & OTT

* Amazon offered to drop certain parity clauses in its e-book contracts with publishers in a bid to settle an investigation by the European Commission. The commitments would apply for a period of five years to e-book agreements throughout the European Economic Area, and Amazon would also appoint a trustee to monitor its compliance with the commitments, the regulator said Jan. 24.

* In more Amazon news, the online retailer launched subscriptions for its STEM Club monthly program that delivers educational toys. Costing $19.99 a month, the program allows parents to select toys for children between the ages of 3 and 13.

* Netflix Inc. is nearing an $8 million deal for drama series "To the Bone," Deadline.com reports. The drama series stars Keanu Reeves, Lily Collins, Carrie Preston, Lili Taylor, Alex Sharp and Liana Liberato.

* Netflix is reviving reality TV series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," which aired on Bravo (US) from 2003 to 2007, Multichannel News reports. The new version of the series, which will stream on Netflix this spring, will feature a new cast.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.43% to 23,049.12. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.43% to 19,057.50.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.26% to 7,168.66, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.86% to 939.43.

On the macro front

The FHFA house price index and the EIA petroleum status report are due out today.

Featured news

M&A Replay: Asia-Pacific deals through Jan. 22: LeEco, Alibaba, Sony: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a biweekly wrap-up of Asia-Pacific media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Jan. 9 to Jan. 22.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Wanda's AMC buys Nordic Cinema; Samsung plans US$8B share buyback: Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd.-owned AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. agreed to buy Nordic Cinema Group Holding for US$929 million, while Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. plans a share buyback after seeing profit double in the fourth quarter of 2016.

2017 poised to be a breakout year for OTT distribution: As well-capitalized legacy distribution companies enter the fray, the OTT business is poised for rapid evolution in 2017.

Startup Spotlight: FuboTV looks to kick up sub count with expanded OTT offering: The virtual MVPD is eyeing a February bow of an enhanced platform, featuring more entertainment fare and a broader sports portfolio.

Data Dispatch: Charter pushes Priceline from ranking of top 10 media, communications companies: Charter Communications Inc. displaced Priceline Group Inc. as the 10th largest media and communications company by market capitalization for the second half of 2016, following Charter's completion of two massive deals in May 2016.

The week in OTT: Amazon adds more comedies; Comcast satisfies FCC: Amazon added 14 original stand-up comedy specials from an Indian media company to Prime Video, while the FCC is satisfied with the steps Comcast Corp. took to authenticate subscribers' access to HBO Go and WatchESPN TV Everywhere on Sony Corp. devices.

Telefónica invests in original content; Fox tops Italian media market: In this monthly Southern Europe video spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.

The Daily Dose Europe: Italy scandal hits BT; Vodafone wins case against Deutsche Telekom: British Telecom's shares plunged following accounting errors at its Italian operations, while Vodafone Group Plc won a court case against Deutsche Telekom AG in Germany over cable duct rental fees.

Featured research

Multichannel Trends: Cable shares open 2017 with a bang: Cable shares jumped right out of the gate in January, with the top three public MSOs up by mid-single digit since New Year's Eve, keeping trading multiples on track toward the 9x mark.

Multichannel Trends: Broadband-only segment set to surge in next 5 years: As 2017 gets under way, already strong winds are intensifying in the sails of the broadband-only home segment, leading to a decidedly more aggressive outlook than initially anticipated.

Economics of TV & Film: New Year, new content for Hulu and YouTube: NATPE 2017 delivered a focus on digital programming with two subscription online video players revealing what they are up to in terms of content and originals in particular.

Media & Communications Quarterly Industry Presentations — Q4'16: SNL Kagan's latest quarterly presentation reports, examining industry trends and data for the Internet Media & OTT, Programming & Film, Technology, U.S. Multichannel, Global Multichannel & Connected Devices, Broadcast, Advertising and TV Network sectors.

Wireless Investor: Incentive auction bidders refuse to be rushed: Round 5 of Stage 4 in the forward auction ended with $18.41 billion in usable bids as the Trump administration is expected to make a fast turn into a more relaxed regulatory mode and eyes are on possible M&A opportunities.

Broadcast Investor: Retrans database update adds survey of FCC consent elections: As retrans activity begins to pick up in the new year, we've included with our database a recently conducted survey of FCC retrans consent election letters in the TV station public files for all of 2015 and 2016 and as of Jan. 23 for 2017.

Recent earnings

Alibaba shares rise as quarterly revenues surge 54% YOY: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. shares jumped in early trading after the company posted higher revenues for the December 2016 quarter, driven by growth in the company's China commerce retail, cloud computing and digital media businesses.

Verizon pushes forward on 5G but disappoints on 2017 guidance: Verizon Communications Inc. continues to push forward on next-generation 5G technology, though analysts were more interested in the company's 2017 revenue and EPS projections.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.