|Bid||2,091.05 x 1400|
|Ask||2,094.44 x 800|
|Day's range||2,088.00 - 2,144.22|
|52-week range||1,586.57 - 2,185.95|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.62|
|PE ratio (TTM)||91.09|
|Earnings date||22 Apr 2020 - 26 Apr 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||2,404.29|
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has asked a court to force the government to hand over documents related to Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s decision to recuse himself from making decisions on a $10 billion cloud-services contract.In a court filing made public on Friday, Amazon seeks a trove of documents to bolster its challenge of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract that was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in October.Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud unit, is also asking the U.S Court of Federal Claims to require the government to turn over materials that shed light on the role that Stacy Cummings, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, played in the procurement.Cummings communicated with the team evaluating JEDI bids and worked on preparations for JEDI-related meetings involving Esper, the lawsuit said. She recused herself from working on the procurement in September 2019, according to the lawsuit.In a previous filing, government lawyers argued that Amazon is “not entitled” to all materials relating to the recusals of Cummings and Esper. They added that Cummings had a conflict with Microsoft, that “did not impact the procurement.”Other files Amazon seeks include “informal notes” between the bid selection team members, JEDI-related content on digital channels and procurement documents that were presented to Esper and Deputy Secretary David Norquist.Representatives for the Defense Department and Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Amazon filed a lawsuit in November in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that the Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid because President Donald Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his “political enemy.”Amazon asked the court earlier this month to allow it to question Trump, Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer.In August 2019, the newly confirmed Esper ordered a review of the procurement after Trump endorsed criticism that the Pentagon had given Amazon an unfair advantage with the contract’s design.The Pentagon announced in October that Esper would recuse himself from any decisions involving the contract to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Esper’s son worked as a consultant for International Business Machines Corp., which along with Oracle Corp., had earlier been eliminated from the competition.Three days after Esper’s recusal, the Pentagon announced it had chosen Microsoft, an upset victory for the company that many in the industry viewed as a distant second to Amazon.“A complete factual record on the bases for these recusals is especially critical in light of the well-grounded allegations AWS has made about the troubling circumstances surrounding the recusals of DoD personnel,” the lawsuit said.The Pentagon’s JEDI project is designed to consolidate the department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems. Earlier this month, a judge agreed to block Microsoft from working on the contract while Amazon’s lawsuit is being litigated.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Paula DwyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
U.S. stocks sold off and the Nasdaq had its worst daily percentage decline in about three weeks on Friday as a spike in new coronavirus cases and data showing a stall in U.S. business activity in February fueled investors' fears about economic growth. Declines were led by the technology sector for a second straight session. Tech-related heavyweights Microsoft Corp , Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc were the biggest drags on the S&P 500.
U.S. stocks sold off on Friday as a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and other countries and as data showing U.S. business activity stalled in February fueled investors' fears about the economy. Declines on Friday were led by heavyweights Microsoft Corp , Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc for a second straight day. Chipmakers, with strong ties to China for revenue, also fell sharply, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index falling 3%.
Global equity markets slumped on Friday as the fast-spreading coronavirus drove investors into safe havens, with gold hitting a fresh seven-year high and the yield on the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond sliding to an all-time low. The virus has emerged in 26 countries and territories outside mainland China, killing 11 people, according to a Reuters tally. Data shows mainland China had 889 new confirmed cases and 118 deaths, with most of those in the provincial capital of Wuhan, which remains under virtual lockdown.
New Hampshire-based Timberland, part of VF Corp , since August has offered to plant a tree every time customers choose to have their orders delivered in 4-8 days versus the standard 3 days. Customers hit the brakes on more than 18% of all Timberland orders during the holiday season's Black Friday to Cyber Monday shopping spike. Acceptance has averaged about 14% and resulted in about 55,000 tree plantings so far.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced the 10 states and cities with the most Makers selling in the Amazon Handmade store. Amazon looked at which states and cities the most Makers call home and found that the top states represent every region of the country, with thousands of Makers residing in California, Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The top cities span across the four corners of the U.S., from New York, to Miami, to San Diego, to Seattle. Amazon also revealed the top product categories for Makers and found the largest number of Makers are selling products in the Home category. Amazon Handmade features genuinely handcrafted products from furniture, to jewelry, to toys, and more from tens of thousands of Makers in the U.S. and around the world.
(Bloomberg) -- Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.Every Saturday morning, a dozen or so villagers from a province about 60 miles west of Bangkok creep into a bat-festooned cave to scrape up the precious fecal deposits of its flourishing inhabitants.In three hours, they can amass as many as 500 buckets of bat dung. The guano is packaged and sold at an adjacent temple as fertilizer, reaping more than 75,000 baht ($2,400). Just 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the nutrient-rich material can fetch as much as the daily minimum wage.Elsewhere in Asia and Micronesia, meat from bats is sometimes sold in markets or cooked at home after being caught in the wild. Although consumption is rare and limited to certain communities, it’s considered a local delicacy in the Pacific island-nation of Palau, and areas of Indonesia, where meat from other mammals is scarce.With growing awareness of bat-borne viruses -- from Nipah to coronaviruses linked to severe acute respiratory syndrome and the new pneumonia-causing Covid-19 disease that’s killed more than 2,000 people in China -- human contact with the ancient flying mammal and their excreta is drawing closer scrutiny.“Anything to do with bats, in theory, can expose yourself to potential viral transmission because we know bats carry so many viruses,” said Linfa Wang, who heads the emerging infectious disease program at Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School.Bats contain the highest proportion of mammalian viruses that are likely to infect humans, according to research published in 2017 by disease ecologist Peter Daszak in the scientific journal Nature.Still, very few bat viruses are ready to transmit directly to humans, said Wang, who has been studying bat origins of human viruses for decades and works with a group of researchers sometimes dubbed ‘The Bat Pack.’“I always say that if they could do that, then the human population would have been wiped out a long time ago because bats have been in existence for 80-to-100 million years -- much older than humans,” he said.Read More: Coronavirus Outbreak Likely Began With Bats, an Omen for Next EpidemicSpecial PrecautionsWhile still relatively low risk, the possibility that a virus might cross the species barrier and cause disease in humans is enough to require all of Wang’s lab and field researchers involved in bat sampling to take special precautions, including immunization against rabies -- the only vaccine available for a bat-borne virus -- and to wear personal protective gear, he said.Danger doesn’t stop with bats. Other mammals, such as civets and camels, have been found to act as intermediate hosts that can pass coronaviruses to humans. Undercooked meat and offal, milk, blood, mucus, saliva and urine of virus-carrying mammals can potentially contain pathogens.“Viruses evolve all the time -- there’s no way to know when it will mutate and become dangerous to humans,” said Supaporn Watcharaprueksadee, deputy chief at the Center for Emerging Infectious Disease of Thailand, who has studied bats for two decades. “The best prevention is to avoid the risk and reduce all risky behaviors,” she said.At the Khao Chong Phran bat cave in the Thai province of Ratchaburi, where the bat dung is mined, there are an estimated of 3 million wrinkle-lipped free-tailed bats, an insect-eating species that produces high-nitrogen guano, essential for boosting plant growth.No ProtectionGuano collectors usually enter the cave with long sleeved shirts and long pants, with a T-shirt wrapped around their head as makeshift cover -- in contrast to how disease ecologists investigate caves in a full-body suit with masks and gloves. Although dry guano has low risk of infection, miners or cave visitors can potentially be exposed to viruses through the fresh saliva and urine of bats.It’s not a concern foremost in the minds of the cave’s guano collectors, even weeks after Thailand reported the first of its 35 Covid-19 cases.“We’ve done this for a long time, for many generations,” said Singha Sittikul, who manages the business and fields orders. It’s a small operation trading guano locally, but such fertilizer is also sold by companies and via online commerce platforms, such as Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. “We carry on as usual.”Bats are highly valued in Ratchaburi, where they not only produce a potent fertilizer, but also play a role in pollination and pest-control by feeding on insects that ravage rice and other crops. Their cave has been declared an animal sanctuary. Killing or eating them is prohibited.Bat MenuIn other places, bat consumption is more common. On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, for example, fruit-eating bats are sold by market vendors and their meat is used in a soup-based dish with vegetables, chili paste and coconut milk. In Palau, a whole bat is served in a soup of ginger, coconut milk and spices -- a dish that gained notoriety on social media during the early weeks of Covid-19.In southern Vietnam, a local newspaper reported Friday there were vendors serving bat porridge and bat blood cocktails, which they believe have aphrodisiac properties.The trade and smuggling of wild mammals, including ones that may act as intermediaries of bat-borne viruses, poses a risk. Carcasses and parts of pangolins, lions, rhinos and elephants are routinely being trafficked through Southeast Asia.Bat expert Supaporn is expanding her research to look at pangolins as well as horseshoe bats, which may have played a role in the emergence of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, she said.Smuggling ThreatThe Freeland Foundation, a counter-trafficking organization, has alerted Asian nations to the direct virological threat wildlife smuggling poses to “wider human populations.”Closing markets and refraining from consumption of the animals is the only sure way to prevent the spread and recurrence of outbreaks, it said.“There are so many bat-borne diseases that we have yet to discover, and they can be dangerous,” said Tawee Chotpitayasunondh, a senior adviser to the Thai Ministry of Public Health. “Now is the time to discourage eating and trading them.”(Updates with Vietnam report in 18th paragraph)\--With assistance from Jason Gale, Anuradha Raghu and Mai Ngoc Chau.To contact the reporter on this story: Siraphob Thanthong-Knight in Bangkok at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Jagtiani at email@example.com, Jason Gale, Anna KitanakaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Walmart's Flipkart has filed a legal challenge against an antitrust investigation ordered against the company in India, a court filing seen by Reuters showed, following a similar petition by its rival Amazon.com Inc. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in January ordered a probe into alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices by the two e-commerce giants, but a state court put the investigation on hold last week following a challenge by Amazon. Flipkart's legal filing was aimed at signalling the company is aggrieved by the CCI's probe order, a person familiar with the matter said.
(Bloomberg) -- While a wave of employee activism marked by walk-outs and protests has rippled through Silicon Valley the past few years, Oracle Corp. glided along unscathed.Now, a symbol of tech’s old guard is facing the stirrings of a worker uprising as well. People left their desks Thursday at Oracle offices around the world to protest Chairman Larry Ellison’s fundraiser a day earlier for President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. The protest, called No Ethics/No Work, involved about 300 employees walking out of their offices or stopping work at remote locations at noon local time and devoting the rest of the day to volunteering or civic engagement, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.Ellison drew employee ire that most didn’t know existed at Oracle. News of the fundraiser for Trump’s re-election campaign at Ellison’s home in Rancho Mirage, California, spurred a petition at Change.org from some of the company’s 136,000 employees. The workers argued the chairman’s public support for Trump violated Oracle’s diversity, inclusion and ethics policies, and harmed the image of the world’s second-largest software maker.The petition had more than 8,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon, though it was open to the public and anyone could sign it. Organizers demanded that Oracle and Ellison give money to support a humanitarian cause such as climate change, denounce the Trump administration and commit to diversifying the company’s board.Employees at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. started mobilizing more than two years ago over a variety of issues, including law enforcement and military contracts, the gender pay gap and the treatment of contract workers.Thursday’s activism at Oracle, a database stalwart founded in 1977, showed cultural differences from the younger companies like Google. Some Oracle workers who participated in the “log off” used vacation time for the protest, the people said. Many had asked the company’s human resources officials whether they would be targeted for participating and didn’t receive a response before the protest, so they took the precaution of participating on their own time, the people said.Others who supported the action, but were leery about the company’s potential response, chose to donate money to charitable groups that oppose Trump administration policies rather than leave work, the people said.Some employees received a warning Thursday when trying to access the protest organizers’ website from a work computer: “Access to this site may not be permitted by the Oracle Acceptable Use Policy. However, if user is authorized and has legitimate business reason to access the requested site, then click below to access. Your access will be logged.”Oracle, however, said the message was an error that was corrected.“The site was not intentionally blocked by Oracle,” said spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger. “It was temporarily blocked by a ‘false positive’ from our McAfee network security and anti-virus software. Once we were notified by employees of this issue, our security team conducted a review, determined that there was no actual security threat, and then whitelisted the site.”Organizers said the protest participation at Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood City, California, seemed more muted than in other locations, such as New York City and Austin, Texas, which have more young workers.The organizers hope Thursday’s action is the first effort to voice concerns about the company’s policies, and employees will continue to feel motivated to speak out, one of the people said.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew Pollack, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- If FTI Consulting Inc. suffers from a lack of name recognition, its clients don’t.The firm, staffed with former FBI, MI-6 and Mossad agents, has advised everyone from Jeff Bezos in the alleged Saudi phone hack case that United Nations experts got involved with last month, to George W. Bush and O.J. Simpson’s defense team -- not to mention helping recover billions stolen by Bernie Madoff.It’s paid off for investors, at least recently. After going nowhere since the 2008 recession, FTI’s market value has almost tripled, rising 191% to $4.7 billion, after beating Wall Street projections in the last two years. The Washington, D.C.-based company is expecting 2019 results, to be released on Feb. 25, to show a second-straight year in which profit increased by more than 40%.The question now is how long FTI’s recent growth will last. In years past, it relied in part on numerous mergers and acquisitions. FTI’s restructuring business also did well during the recession, working on the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers, General Motors and CIT Group.Under Chief Executive Officer Steven Gunby, who started in 2014, FTI has focused more on organic growth, expanding into areas such as cybersecurity and lobbying. But wary investors now want to see another couple of years of growth, said Tobey Sommer, a longtime FTI analyst for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc.“There’s a lot of skepticism” among investors that FTI can keep growing organically, he said. The shares fell 2.6% on Thursday, the most since November, closing at $125.89. Even so, the stock should climb to $155 in a year, he projects, or a 20% increase from Wednesday’s closing price. The bullishness was echoed by Joe Kunkle, head of research at Relativity Capital Advisors, which has owned FTI shares. He said the stock’s valuation remains fairly cheap and Wall Street profit expectations are too pessimistic. FTI shares trade at about 22 times earnings, roughly the same as the S&P 500 Index.FTI declined to comment. In a presentation in November, it said it’s on a path of “sustained double-digit” growth in adjusted earnings-per-share. It expects to post annual profit, excluding some items, of as much as $6 a share on annual revenue of $2.25 billion to $2.3 billion, both records.Founded in a warehouse in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1982, Forensic Technologies International initially assisted lawyers in finding expert witnesses and then went on to help bring computer modeling and animation to courtrooms. For Simpson’s defense, it built an illustrated timeline. In 1996, the company went public at $8.50 a share.Over the next decade the company changed its name and bought rivals to expand into restructuring, bankruptcy, accounting, risk advisory and public relations. It helped Bush with trial graphics in the Florida presidential voter case. It worked on the bankruptcy cases of Enron and WorldCom, and snapped up operations of the Big Four accounting firms when they were forced to sell in the aftermath of those scandals.Gunby is now working to instill “a culture of organic growth” while pushing the company into adjacent services, according to Sommer. He has hired more employees, increasing so-called billable headcount during his tenure by 34% to 4,334 as of September.One of those hires was the former FBI official Anthony J. Ferrante, whose report on the Bezos case was published by Vice last month.FTI’s analysis traced the hack on the Amazon.com founder’s phone to a WhatsApp message allegedly sent from the account of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi Embassy has denied involvement in the hack, calling the claims “absurd.”Landing high-profile clients like Bezos for the firm’s relatively new cybersecurity unit could lead to even more business, Sommer said.(Updates share performance starting in headline)To contact the reporter on this story: Vivek Shankar in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kasia Klimasinska at email@example.com, Larry Reibstein, Richard RichtmyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
With the stock market rallying and the economy showing signs of resilience, the consumer discretionary sector is not far behind with many ETFs hitting record highs.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, International Business Machines, Intel, Apple and Amazon.com
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is considering giving rival apps more prominence on iPhones and iPads and opening its HomePod speaker to third-party music services after criticism the company provides an unfair advantage to its in-house products.The technology giant is discussing whether to let users choose third-party web browser and mail applications as their default options on Apple’s mobile devices, replacing the company’s Safari browser and Mail app, according to people familiar with the matter. Since launching the App Store in 2008, Apple hasn’t allowed users to replace pre-installed apps such as these with third-party services. That has made it difficult for some developers to compete, and has raised concerns from lawmakers probing potential antitrust violations in the technology industry.The web browser and mail are two of the most-used apps on the iPhone and iPad. To date, rival browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox and mail apps like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook have lacked the status of Apple’s products. For instance, if a user clicks a web link sent to them on an iPhone, it will automatically open in Safari. Similarly, if a user taps an email address -- say, from a text message or a website -- they’ll be sent to the Apple Mail app with no option to switch to another email program.The Cupertino, California-based company also is considering loosening restrictions on third-party music apps, including its top streaming rival Spotify Technology SA, on HomePods, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal company deliberations.Read more: Apple’s Default iPhone Apps Give It Growing Edge Over App Store RivalsApple’s closed system to prohibit users from setting third-party apps as defaults was questioned last year during a hearing of a U.S. House of Representatives antitrust panel. Lawmakers pressed the issue of whether iPhone users can make non-Apple apps their defaults in categories including web browsers, maps, email and music.Being a default app on the world’s best-selling smartphone is valuable because consumers are subtly coaxed and prodded into using this more-established software rather than alternatives. Keeping users tethered to Apple’s services is important to the company as the growth of smartphone demand slows and sales of music, video, cloud storage and other subscriptions make up a greater share of the iPhone maker’s total revenue.An Apple spokesman declined to comment.The company currently pre-installs 38 default apps on iPhones and iPads, Bloomberg News has reported, including the Safari web browser, Maps, Messages and Mail.Last year, Stockholm-based Spotify submitted an antitrust complaint to the European Union, saying Apple squeezes rival services by imposing a 30% cut for subscriptions made via the App Store. Apple responded that Spotify wants the benefits of the App Store without paying for them. As part of its complaint, Spotify singled out the inability to run on the HomePod and become the default music player in Siri, Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant.Now, Apple is working to allow third-party music services to run directly on the HomePod, said the people. Spotify and other third-party music apps can stream from an iPhone or iPad to the HomePod via Apple’s AirPlay technology. That’s a much more cumbersome experience than streaming directly from the speaker.Opening the HomePod to additional music service may be a boon for the product. The speaker has lagged behind rivals like the Amazon Echo in functionality since being introduced in 2018 and owns less than 5% of the smart-speaker market, according to an estimate last week from Strategy Analytics.Also under discussion at Apple is whether to let users set competing music services as the default with Siri on iPhones and iPads, the people said. Currently, Apple Music is the default music app. If the company changes the arrangement, a user would be able to play music from Spotify or Pandora automatically when asking Siri for a song.The potential changes to third-party apps on Apple’s devices and the HomePod are still under discussion or early development, and final decisions haven’t been made, the people said. If Apple chooses to go forward with the moves, they could appear as soon as later this year via the upcoming iOS 14 software update and a corresponding HomePod software update, the people said.Apple typically announces major new iPhone and iPad software versions in June, and releases them in September around the launch of new iPhone models. For this year’s update, Apple is also planning to focus on performance and quality because the current version, iOS 13, has been riddled with bugs that upset some users.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Andrew Pollack, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- As global streaming giants Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. spend millions of dollars to grab viewers in India, a country that could become their biggest overseas market, a homegrown rival is preparing to defend its turf.Zee5, the top domestic streaming platform set up by India’s biggest television broadcaster, is betting on local content to fend off big-spending rivals, Chief Executive Officer Tarun Katial said in an interview. The over-the-top, or OTT, service is playing to its advantage by adding more local-language shows and lower-price options to gain market share, he said.“International OTTs have neither legacy nor library with depth,” Katial said at his office in Mumbai, adding that Zee5 has produced more than 100 original shows in local languages, at least 10 times more than any rival.“We can win this content battle.”Zee5, which started in 2018, is among dozens of streaming platforms including Amazon.com Inc. locked in a race for Indian users, a market that Boston Consulting Group estimates will reach about $5 billion in 2023. With China closed to foreign streaming services, India has become a battleground for global streaming brands, with an emphasis on delivering films and TV shows to smartphone users expected to number 850 million in two years.After amassing 61 million active monthly users in its first 15 months in India, Katial says Zee5 has little choice but to keep producing new shows at even faster rates. The platform aims to add between 70 and 80 original shows over the coming year, while making 15 direct-to-digital movies for release in 2021.Representatives for Netflix and Disney’s Hotstar platform in India declined to comment.There are 22 official languages in India, creating a broad battlefield for niche audiences.“It’s a strategy to move away from fighting in the fiercely competitive segment of Hindi or English,” Bhupendra Tiwary, an analyst at ICICIdirect, said of Zee5’s local-content push. “Zee is creating its own space in this war zone where it sees more opportunity.”Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., part of the Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, is increasing its investment in streaming, even though the broadcaster has seen its market value plunge on concern the group’s debt had grown too large. Chandra, who opened India’s first amusement park and brought satellite television to the country, has had to sell his stake in Zee, while staying on as a board member.“We are completely insulated from the financial concern which our parent group went through last year,” Katial said. He declined to say how much the company was planning to spend on growth.Zee Entertainment shares gained 2% as of 2:36 p.m. in Mumbai trading Thursday. Zee5, the streaming platform, is planning its local-language expansion just as some of its global rivals are pushing further into India.Disney PushDisney earlier this month said it will introduce its Disney+ streaming service in India through its Hotstar platform on March 29, at the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season. Hotstar, which has said it has 300 million active monthly users, has relied on India’s most popular sport to draw users after spending big to secure the rights.Disney is also re-branding the Hotstar VIP and Premium subscription tiers to Disney+ Hotstar to underline its global brand.Netflix, the world’s largest streaming platform by paid subscribers, has said it intends to sign on 100 million subscribers in India, almost 25 times the customer base it had in the country as of this year. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said during a visit to the country in December that Netflix intends to spend 30 billion rupees ($419 million) over 2019 and 2020 to produce more local content.Netflix’s “Sacred Games” series, a local original, has drawn Indian viewers globally, the company has said. “Lust Stories,” a Hindi-language anthology of short films, released in June 2018, also drew attention.Zee5 has said its original “Rangbaaz Phirse” and “The Final Call” series are hits, along with “Auto Shankar,” a Tamil-language show.Price WarAt the same time, competitors are paring fees to draw subscribers in a country used to free services including Google’s YouTube, while paying little for bandwidth via mobile phone plans.Last year, Netflix slashed prices by as much as half in India for subscribers that commit to at least three months. Most of the country’s streaming services, including Apple TV+, Amazon Prime and Disney’s Hotstar have also offered discount deals this year and subscriptions at prices well below those in other markets.Zee5 has begun offering some region-specific packages at 49 rupees a month or 499 rupees a year to attract more viewers, said Katial. That compares with the standard packages at 99 rupees a month or 999 rupees a year.At the same time, Zee5 is planning to add 90-second videos to its platform to meet demand and compete with the likes of Beijing-based ByteDance Inc.’s TikTok, a platform that is growing fast globally among younger users. That effort will start “soon,” Katial said.(Updates with Zee shares in 11th paragraph)\--With assistance from Ragini Saxena.To contact the reporter on this story: P R Sanjai in Mumbai at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sam Nagarajan at email@example.com, Dave McCombsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Donations are a big issue for us but small fry to Amazon. We keep on getting charity money which we know isn’t for us .... but Amazon is incapable of sorting it out
Teikametrics, a startup that helps retailers optimize their online ad spending, has raised $15 million in additional funding. The company launched with the goal of helping Amazon sellers advertise more effectively. More recently, it launched a similar partnership with Walmart.
Facebook's content moderation plan, its IRS lawsuit, Amazon's defense in JEDI, Google Cloud deploying AMD Epyc and other stories are covered here.
(Bloomberg) -- Through the ups and downs of the choppy U.S. economic expansion, the consumer has been perhaps the lone consistent driver of growth, spending money at a steadily rising clip.And there have as yet been no real signs in the broad data of that changing, with unemployment, housing and gas prices remaining supportive. But back-to-back lackluster results from retail-industry bellwethers -- Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. -- are suddenly raising the possibility of a softening in consumer spending. Or, at the very least, they are sparking some economy watchers to start asking questions.“The U.S. has enjoyed a consumer-led expansion, and any slowdown in retail sales or shift in consumer behavior should be carefully examined,” said Thomas Majewski, managing partner at Eagle Point Credit Management. “When the largest retailer’s holiday sales were flat versus the prior year, it’s fair to say that’s a red flag.” To be sure, he pointed out that Amazon.com Inc. posted revenue gains of about 20% for the same period.Neither Walmart nor Target has so far pointed to any major concerns about the broader consumer environment, instead blaming the sales falloffs on one-time factors like the shortened Christmas selling season, poor merchandise decisions and a lack of must-have items in categories like toys and electronics. Walmart is already trying to put the poor quarter in the rear-view mirror, saying Tuesday that sales in February have started off well.There are other signs that consumers remain in good health. The housing market is strong, with sales rallying and permits rising to the highest level since 2007, while continued labor market strength is helping to sustain an economic expansion in its 11th year.Still, worries persist. While U.S. retail sales rose in January for a fourth straight month, a subset of sales that excludes food services, car dealers, building-materials stores and gas stations was unchanged after being revised sharply downward in December. That so-called control group’s performance is more closely tied to underlying demand, and includes electronics outlets, personal-care shops and clothing stores, which fell the most since 2009 last month.Consumer spending is helping prop up the economy at the moment while other areas, like manufacturing, have softened. So any weakening there is another sign that first-quarter U.S. economic growth could cool from the previous period’s 2.1% pace, a rate that’s below the Trump administration’s 3% goal for full-year growth. The end of interest-rate cuts, the looming U.S. presidential election and fallout from China’s coronavirus outbreak could also weigh on consumer confidence, analysts have said, jeopardizing a record-long economic expansion.“Are we starting to see cracks in the U.S. consumer?” Brian Yarbrough, an analyst at Edward D. Jones & Co., said in an interview. “What really happened over the holidays, and why was the consumer not spending?”Sales of key gift categories rose just 0.2% in the U.S. between Nov. 3 and Dec. 28 compared with the same period last year, data tracker NPD said, hurt by sluggish demand for apparel and toys in particular. Consumers, especially younger ones, are also less enthused about the environmental impact of accumulating more and more stuff and increasingly favor spending their wages on experiences that don’t come in a box.Amazon GrabThe spending that is up for grabs is often swept up by Amazon, which accounted for 40% of the sales growth in U.S. retail in the fourth quarter, Evercore ISI analyst Greg Melich estimates. The Internet giant enjoyed a banner holiday quarter, with memberships to its Prime service topping 150 million thanks to a pledge to deliver most items to those dues-paying customers the next day.As Amazon thrives, traditional retailers continue to suffer. On Tuesday, Macy’s Inc.’s credit rating was cut to junk by S&P Global Ratings, which said the department-store chain falls on the wrong side of consumer preferences. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. hired its latest chief executive officer from Target to turn things around, but could be beyond saving. It’s not just mall-based retailers who are hurting: A trio of supermarkets including New York icon Fairway have filed for bankruptcy this year.It all adds up to a much tougher road ahead for U.S. retailers.“One thing we are certain of,” said Scott Mushkin, an analyst at R5 Capital, “is that the outlook seems much more uncertain.”\--With assistance from Sally Bakewell and Katia Dmitrieva.To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at email@example.com, Lisa Wolfson, Sally BakewellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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