By S-3 Public Affairs
Fact of the Week: The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon, “This year it is on track to spend as much on video content as Netflix did in 2017. … Amazon’s video business isn’t just its own potential profit center; it’s also a way to keep people in Amazon’s world longer, where they spend more money, Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said in October. Amazon Prime Video also makes customers more likely to renew their Prime subscriptions, he said.”
Bloomberg adds, “Amazon.com Inc. plans to bid for the rights to stream Premier League matches in the upcoming auction in the U.K., according to a source familiar with the matter, part of a broader strategy to bring more sports content to its global customers. The digital giant sees such sporting events as American football, tennis and soccer matches as a way to get more people to subscribe to Prime memberships, which include video streaming and convert occasional customers into more loyal shoppers.”
In the Media: CNBC reports, “Music streaming service Spotify, which filed confidentially with U.S.regulators for an initial public offering on Wednesday, has 70 million subscribers, it said in a tweet on Thursday. Spotify, valued at as much as $19 billion last year, is targeting a direct listing in the first half of 2018. Spotify is the biggest global music streaming company and counts Apple and Amazon.com as its main rivals.” Note that this is the first ever direct listing of its kind (a good read from Bloomberg’s Matt Levine on why this approach is noteworthy).
In addition to music, as we noted last week, Spotify is making a big push in the podcasting space. Media and tech writer Tim Carmody writes for The Nieman Lab about his evolved opinion on the app: “I want to make the case for Spotify, the company with audio at its core, and that’s made a big leap in podcasts in the last year — not least because Spotify’s evolution helps explain what Apple and Google are up to.” He adds that he sees Spotify as, “one of the most interesting trajectories in media; and I firmly believe publishers should be paying close attention to how it works.”
In the Administration: President Trump heads to Nashville on Monday to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th Annual Convention. The president also plans to attend the College Football Playoff national championship game in Atlanta on Monday night.
On the Hill: Both the House and Senate are in session this week, with negotiations continuing on a government funding bill. Additionally, HHS Secretary-Nominee Alex Azar appears before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, and the Senate will continue its work on district court nominations, with a cloture vote scheduled Monday and three other cloture votes filed.
Monday (January 8): Senate expected to vote on the nomination of William Campbell to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs business meeting to vote on the nominations of Margaret Weichert to be deputy director for management in the Office of Management and Budget and Mark Greenblatt to be inspector general of the Export-Import Bank;
Tuesday (January 9): Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Alex Azar to be secretary of Health and Human Services; Senate HELP Committee hearing assessing the opioid crisis; Senate Banking Committee hearing on combating money laundering and illicit finance; Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba, with testimony from Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Francisco Palmieri, Diplomatic Security Assistant Director of International Programs Todd Brown, and Bureau of Medical Services Director Dr. Charles Rosenfarb; House Rules Committee hearing on FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearings on CFIUS and financial regulatory legislative proposals (the Community Financial Institution Exemption Act, Protecting Veterans Credit Act, Home Mortgage Reporting Relief Act, Community Bank Reporting Relief Act, and an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act); House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on Department of Energy modernization, with a panel including Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar, Undersecretary for Nuclear Security Frank Klotz and Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes; House Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing on the Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act; House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on China’s pursuit of emerging and exponential technologies; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on border security from an agent and officer perspective;
Wednesday (January 10): Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges; House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on sanctions and financial pressure and subcommittee hearing on the implications of upcoming elections in the Western hemisphere for U.S. policy; House Armed Services Committee hearing to receive an update on the Financial Improvement and Audit Remediation (FIAR) Plan, with testimony from Undersecretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer David Norquist; House Natural Resources Committee markup of the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act, Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act, National Memorial to Fallen Educators Act, Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act, and Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act; House Science, Space & Technology Committee markup of the Low Dose Radiation Research Act; House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing to examine Federal Reserve reform proposals; House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing on how veteran homebuyers are affected by home loan churning practices;
Thursday (January 11): Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy in post-ISIS Syria, with testimony from Ambassador David Satterfield, the acting assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs; Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting to consider Circuit Court nominees Stuart Kyle Duncan and David Ryan Stras and District Court nominee Fernando Rodriguez, Jr., and to consider the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act; Senate HELP Committee executive session to consider the nominations of 8 top officials in the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.