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AT&T, T-Mobile top spenders in FCC airwaves auction; Twitter buys AI startup

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AT&T, T-Mobile top spenders in FCC airwaves auction; Twitter buys AI startup

Top News

* AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc. topped the list of spenders in the airwaves auction by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing results released June 3. AT&T led spending on 24 GHz licenses with a bid of $983 million, while T-Mobile spent $803 million in the auction. Verizon led the spending on the first auction around 28 GHz, bidding $505 million.

* Both chambers of Congress will hold hearings this week that focus on the media marketplace. The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on June 4 will hold a hearing titled "STELAR Review: Protecting Consumers in an Evolving Media Marketplace, while the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on June 5 will hold its hearing on the television and video marketplace.

* Enterprise messaging company Slack Technologies Inc. is poised to begin trading this month, and IPO experts say its U.S. listing could land on the winning side of a market still generally favorable for new entrants despite some recent volatility. Slack's planned direct listing will provide a second major test for the nontraditional go-to-market strategy, following Spotify Technology SA's direct listing in April 2018.

* Twitter Inc. has acquired London-based artificial-intelligence startup Fabula AI Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is expected to allow Twitter to ensure the safety of its users and fight fake news on the platform, the company's Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal said in an official blog post.


* Apple Inc. debuted iOS 13, its privacy-focused next-generation mobile operating system, and announced the end of its iconic iTunes service, among other updates June 3 at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The new mobile operating system, set for release this fall, is designed to create more transparency about the types of data apps collect from iOS users. Apps will only be able to access users' location once, for instance, and must ask again for subsequent access. The new iOS also includes a "Sign in with Apple" feature that allows people to log in to third-party apps without revealing their personal information.

Internet & OTT

* Google LLC's YouTube unveiled new policies aimed at protecting minors and families from exploitation on the video platform. According to an official blog post, YouTube has barred minors from live streaming unless accompanied by an adult, disabled comments on videos featuring minors and limited recommendations of borderline content to include videos featuring minors in risky situations.

* Discovery Inc. led a $47 million round of funding for FloSports Inc., a live digital sports and original content company. Other investors that participated in the series C funding round included World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and Causeway Media Partners, according to a news release.

* Instagram Inc. has tapped Justin Osofsky as COO, Bloomberg News reports. Osofsky is a longtime Facebook Inc. senior executive and member of the company's management team.

* Nielsen Holdings PLC is now measuring ads on YouTube's mobile app with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings in 26 additional markets. The new markets are Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, the company said.

* Netflix Inc. will premiere an animated action-adventure series, titled "Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous," from DreamWorks Animation LLC in 2020. Set within the same timeline as the 2015 film, "Jurassic World," the Netflix original series is inspired by the multibillion-dollar franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, according to a news release.

* Dark comedy "Dead to Me" will return for a second season on Netflix, according to an announcement on its Twitter page. The series stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng fell 0.49% at 26,761.52, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.01% to 20,408.54.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lifted 0.12% to 7,193.65, and the Euronext 100 gained 0.09% to 1,027.18.

On the macro front

The motor vehicle sales report, the Redbook Index for retail sales and the factory orders report 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: SoftBank to launch positioning service; Huawei to sell undersea cable business: SoftBank Group Corp.'s telecom unit will launch a service that uses satellite signals and its network of mobile base stations to power agricultural machinery, while Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. will divest its stake in its undersea telecom cable business.

The Daily Dose Europe: Airtel Africa eyes $750M London IPO; Twitter acquires London-based startup: Airtel Africa Ltd. will proceed with its IPO plan on the London Stock Exchange, while Twitter acquired machine learning startup Fabula AI for an undisclosed sum.

The Week in OTT: Prime Video Channels to hit Canada; abortion law irks Netflix: Inc. is launching Prime Video Channels in Canada, while Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said the streaming giant will "rethink" its entire investment in Georgia if the state adopts a new law restricting abortions in 2020.

M&A Replay: Mediaset acquires ProSiebenSat.1 stake; American Tower to buy Eaton Towers: Italian broadcaster Mediaset SpA has acquired a 9.6% stake in German media group ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, while American Tower Corp. agreed to purchase London-based towers operator Eaton Towers.

Featured research

Economics of TV & Film: Big budget action films are global box office soup du jour: International box office has grown faster than domestic since 2003. In 2003, 134 films grossed $8.51 billion domestically and $8.98 billion internationally. In 2018, 151 films grossed $11.14 billion domestically and $16.47 billion internationally.

Multichannel Trends: Programming costs trend inverts in Q1'19: Combined content costs for Altice USA Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., DIRECTV and DISH Network Corp. were down slightly year over year.

Economics of Advertising: Hallmark's spring fever runs hot, boosts ratings: Analysis of cable network ratings and delivery data from Nielsen for April 2019. Includes excel attachment with prime-time programming breakouts.

Multichannel Trends: May 2019 cable system sales summary: The cable system sales summary lists monthly deal data for the U.S., including basics, homes passed, total value, value per sub and per-home-passed and cash flow multiples.

Economics of Internet: US TV, radio digital and online ad revenue projections through 2029: Advertisers continue to seek out efficient targeting from digital and online advertising while digital ad platforms for both TV and radio have become more robust, leading to growth in the segment on both sides.

Multichannel Trends: See it in charts: US multichannel, May 2019: View Kagan's monthly U.S. multichannel research in PowerPoint. Key charts and maps summarize our extensive coverage on first-quarter earnings and subscriber results, as well as our latest video forecast.

The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended May 31.

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