Entertainment

FILE PHOTO: 2017 MTV Video Music Awards – Arrivals – Inglewood, California
FILE PHOTO: 2017 MTV Video Music Awards – Arrivals – Inglewood, California, U.S., 27/08/2017 – Kodak Black. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

April 19, 2019

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) – Rapper Kodak Black was released from custody by the New York State Police on Thursday after being arrested on drug and gun charges while coming across the Canada-U.S. border near Niagara Falls, police said.

Black, 21, was stopped on Wednesday evening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the Lewiston-Queenston International Bridge headed back into the United States from Canada, the New York State Police said in a release.

Black’s real name is Bill Kapri, and he is a resident of Miramar, Florida.

Black, who was driving a Cadillac Escalade, and three other Florida men following in a Porsche were arrested on drug and weapons charges. Black was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Glock 9mm pistol, and unlawful possession of marijuana, police said.

The other three men face similar charges from weapons and drugs found in the Porsche.

A representative for Black was not immediately available to talk to Reuters on Thursday evening.

Black was released on Thursday afternoon from the Niagara County Jail on $20,000 bail, multiple media accounts have reported, including CNN.

Video footage from local media outlets showed Black leaving the jail holding a fan-like spread of cash over his face.

CNN reported that he had been scheduled to perform at the House of Blues in Boston on Wednesday night and his lack of appearance angered waiting fans.

TMZ reported that Black’s show at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, scheduled for Thursday night was also canceled.

The rapper and songwriter, signed to Atlantic Records, has become one of the biggest artists of hip-hop. He is known for his hit singles “Zeze”, “Roll in Peace”, “Tunnel Vision”, and “No Flockin”.

Black has had a number of run-ins with the law over the last few years, mostly over weapons and drug charges, multiple media accounts say.

He recently angered some fans by expressing a romantic interest in the girlfriend of late rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot to death outside a clothing store he owned in Los Angeles last month.

(Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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The Nintendo booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO – The Nintendo booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake

April 19, 2019

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nintendo Co Ltd shares jumped 17 percent in morning Tokyo trade on Friday, a day after China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd won a key approval to begin selling Nintendo’s Switch console in the world’s largest video games market.

That is the biggest percentage gain since July 2016, when enthusiasm for Nintendo-backed smartphone game Pokemon Go sent the stock rocketing. Friday’s jump sent the shares to their highest price since October and pushed the year-to-date gain to 32 percent.

Nintendo’s U.S.-listed shares rose 12 percent overnight after the Chinese province of Guangdong allowed Tencent to distribute the Switch console with a test version of the “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” game.

It remains unknown when the console may go on sale in China, with games needing to clear a separate approval process.

Gaming industry leader Tencent is trying to recover from a lengthy game approval freeze in China last year. The firm is listed in Hong Kong, where financial markets are closed on Friday for a public holiday.

The freeze resulted in a backlog which “means it is uncertain whether a strong line-up of launch titles can coincide with the hardware launch,” said market analyst Gu Tianyi at gaming industry analytics firm Newzoo.

Tencent is likely to release its own popular titles such as Honor of Kings on the Switch in China, he said. The international version of the game, Arena of Valor, is available overseas on the Switch.

With China dominated by PC and mobile gaming, analysts hope the news may lead to Tencent and Nintendo teaming up in mobile, where Nintendo has been expanding its range of partnerships.

The Kyoto-based games maker has previously been hampered by Chinese regulations and the search for a partner in its efforts to bring the hybrid home-portable Switch console to China, holding back the development of console gaming there.

Nintendo shares sold off toward the end of last year over concerns about weakness in its Switch games pipeline. Media reports saying Nintendo will launch a low-price Switch version have helped bolster sentiment in recent weeks.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Additional reporting by Pei Li; Editing by Paul Tait and Christopher Cushing)

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Creator and executive producer Simon, cast member Pierce and creator and executive producer Overmyer participates in a panel for HBO's series
Creator and executive producer David Simon (L) participates in a panel for HBO’s series “Treme” during the HBO sessions of the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California January 14, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

April 18, 2019

By Helen Coster and Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “The Wire” creator David Simon, seven other writers, and the Writers Guild of America sued the four major Hollywood talent agencies on Wednesday for getting paid in such a way that the agencies’ financial interests prevail over those of their clients.

The plaintiffs are trying to establish that talent agency “packaging fees,” in which an agent is paid directly by the writer’s employer instead of getting paid a 10 percent commission fee from the writer, are illegal under both California and federal law.

In recent decades, packaging fees have become the standard form of compensation for the four largest talent agencies, which have grown in power and reach amid a wave of consolidation.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that because packaging fees are generally tied to a show’s revenue and profits, the agencies are incentivized to reduce the amount production companies pay writers and other talent on a show.

As such, packaging fees violate California fiduciary law, the suit claims, because they pit the interests of the agency against those of its writer client. The fees also violate the state’s Unfair Competition Law, the suit maintains, because they amount to an illegal “kickback” from production companies to agencies.

The four agencies named in the complaint – William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency and ICM Partners – receive over 80 percent of the packaging fees paid by Hollywood studios and networks, according to the WGA.

The Association of Talent Agencies (ATA), whose members include the four defendants in Wednesday’s lawsuit, said the filing was a sign that the WGA “is on a predetermined path to chaos that never included any intention to negotiate.”

“Knowing that it could take months or even years for this litigation to be resolved, WGA leaders are unnecessarily forcing their members and our industry into long-term uncertainty,” ATA executive director Karen Stuart said in a statement.

The relationship between the WGA and the Association of Talent Agencies, has been governed by a 43-year-old agreement that regulates how agents represent writers. After negotiations over a new, updated agreement fell apart, the WGA asked agents to sign a new code of contact that would eliminate packaging fees.

The majority of agents refused, and on Friday the WGA told its members to fire agents that had not signed the new code.

(Reporting by Helen Coster and Jill Serjeant; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Tom Brown and Michael Perry)

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FILE PHOTO: Solar panels face the sun from balconies of an apartment building in Pyongyang
FILE PHOTO: Solar panels face the sun from balconies of an apartment building in Mangyongdae District, Pyongyang August 27, 2014. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

April 17, 2019

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – Years after they first appeared in North Korea, increasingly cheap and available solar panels are giving a boost to consumer consumption and industry as Pyongyang tries to limit the impact of tough international sanctions.

Electricity shortages have been a perennial concern for North Korea, and leader Kim Jong Un has called for greater use of renewable energy as part of his drive for self-sufficiency as sanctions have ratcheted higher in response to the country’s nuclear and missile programs.

Now ever more households, factories and businesses are equipped with solar panels, leading to a greater variety of home electronics products available in increasingly common private markets known as jangmadang, defectors and recent visitors say.

Among the hottest selling items are water purifiers, hair straighteners and electric bicycles, mostly from China but some made in North Korea or even smuggled in from South Korea.

“A few years ago, such things as water purifiers, mixers and rice cookers were only seen at some restaurants and rich households, but they are becoming commonplace, especially in cities,” said Kang Mi-jin, an economic expert who regularly speaks with North Koreans for Daily NK, a website run by defectors.

“Some would look just like an ordinary middle-class South Korean home, with a wall-hanging LED TV, multiple laptops and electric mini cars for babies.”

CONSUMER CULTURE

North Koreans started using solar panels several years ago, mostly to charge mobile phones and light their homes as a backup to the unstable, mostly hydro and coal-fired national grid.

As well as markets brimming with electronics products, there are more teahouses, computer games rooms, karaoke bars and billiard halls open longer after switching to solar from diesel generators, according to recent visitors and defectors.

Such entertainment venues are becoming more widespread, not only in cities, but also the countryside, where grid power is even less reliable.

“At night, often it is only those places that have solar panels and batteries that have lights on,” a source with knowledge of the issue told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of North Korea affairs.

Use of the panels spread after they were used at a now-closed inter-Korean factory park in the North’s border city of Kaesong that opened in 2004.

“Now many apartment balconies have them out in the sun during the day collecting energy so they are readily visible, the source said.

Private use of solar panels has gone from being officially banned, to tolerated, to encouraged by the ruling Workers’ Party, which keeps a tight rein on the economy and the populace.

Early this month, the official Rodong Sinmun ran an article about a team of laborers at a cooperative farm who earned solar panels and LED TVs as a reward from the Party for surpassing a production goal.

State television has also aired a series of reports on the growing use of solar energy over the past year, including a 17-minute documentary from October introducing locally made devices, such as high-voltage inverters and even a portable charger for electric bicycles.

Kim Yun-soung, a research fellow at the Green Energy Strategy Institute in Seoul, said the North’s push for domestic production of solar equipment was spurred by sanctions banning imports of metal products.

“Electricity was the biggest problem but we achieved such a highly advanced, cutting-edge technology ourselves from scratch, which was once monopolized by developed nations,” the film’s narrator said, referring to the inverters.

State media has listed the central bank, schools, factories, and even ferries as entirely powered by solar panels.

“A solar panel gives you ‘free’ power once it is installed,” said Kim Young Hui, a defector and an economist at the South’s state-run Korea Development Bank.

“So the nature of the panels perfectly fits Kim Jong Un’s mantra of self-reliance – or in other words, creating something out of nothing.”

‘FREE POWER’

Most of the panels sold in markets were brought in from China, and prices have dropped by up to 40 percent over the last few years amid a global glut and rising North Korean production, defectors and experts said.

In 2015, sources told Reuters a small 20-watt panel was sold at about $44. These days a 30-watt panel – a more widely used model – costs only about $15, Kang said.

Pyongyang does not provide data on its use of solar power, but Kang said about 55 percent of North Korean households are equipped with the panels. The ratio is higher in Pyongyang and other cities, as well as border regions where Chinese goods are widely available, she said.

David von Hippel, an Oregon-based senior associate at the Nautilus Institute, a U.S. think tank, said North Korea has imported a total of 29 megawatts of solar panels from China through 2017, citing Beijing’s custom data.

Experts say solar energy still account for less than 0.1 percent of the country’s generation capacity, estimated by South Korea’s statistics agency at some 7,700 megawatts as of 2017.

Pyongyang aims to boost its renewable capacity to 5,000 megawatts by 2044, with a focus on wind power, according to state media.

Panels play a key role in soothing public discontent toward the Kim regime over chronic power shortages and sanctions, defectors and observers say.

“Kim Jong Un appears to be committed to economic reform,” von Hippel said. “So the increased access to energy in some ways relieves the government from having to supply its citizens with energy.”

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin. Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Ubisoft offers Notre-Dame-themed Assassin's Creed game for free
FILE PHOTO: A woman dressed as Marie Antoinette from the video game “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” promotes the game in the Ubisoft booth at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo

April 17, 2019

By Gwénaëlle Barzic

PARIS (Reuters) – French video game developer Ubisoft said on Wednesday it will offer free access to its “Assassin’s Creed” game, which allows players to roam in a meticulously reconstituted Notre-Dame Cathedral during the French revolution.

The fire that devastated the nine-century old monument on Monday has raised a wave of enthusiasm in France and abroad, pushing people to donate for its reconstruction and pushing Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” novel up the top-selling book charts.

“We stand in solidarity with our fellow Parisians and everyone around the world moved by the devastation the fire caused,” Ubisoft said on its website. “We want to give everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre-Dame the best way we know how,” it added.

During one week, the company will let players download for free the “Unity” version of its game that was released in 2014. The game is set in 1789 Paris and players are part of a secret society of hit men roaming the city chasing victims from a rival group.

The version includes a digital 3-D version of the Notre-Dame cathedral elaborated with real plans, historical documents and pictures of statues and old stones.

The reproduction required 5,000 hours of work and included the reconstitution of 140 stained glasses.

Players can climb on the cathedral’s arches and gargoyles and admire a reconstitution of Paris’s 18th-century skyline. There is, however, a small anachronism: the cathedral includes its spire, which was added only in the mid-19th century.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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A Volkswagen logo is pictured in a production line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg
FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen logo is pictured in a production line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

April 17, 2019

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission’s push for a wifi-based standard for cars backed by Volkswagen took a big step forward on Wednesday after EU lawmakers endorsed the move over 5G technology promoted by BMW and Qualcomm.

The EU executive wants to set benchmarks for internet connected cars, a market that could generate billions of euros in revenues for carmakers, telecoms operators and equipment makers, according to analysts.

The issue has split the auto and tech industries and triggered fierce lobbying from both sides seeking a share of a potentially lucrative market for internet-connected cars.

Wifi technology supporters include Renault, Toyota, NXP, Autotalks and Kapsch TrafficCom. The technology primarily connects cars to other cars.

5G backers include big names like Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung.

Fifth generation, or 5G, standard hooks up to both cars and devices in the surrounding environment, with a wider range of applications in areas such as entertainment, traffic data and general navigation.

The last hurdle for the plan is the European Council where opponents would require a blocking majority to overturn the proposal.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Jane Merriman)

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of TikTok application is seen in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: The logo of TikTok application is seen on a screen in this picture illustration taken February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Illustration/File Photo

April 17, 2019

By Aditya Kalra and Sankalp Phartiyal

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) – An Indian ban on downloading TikTok, one of the world’s most popular mobile applications, has heightened industry worries that technology companies could now face increased scrutiny and regulatory challenges in one of their most important markets.

TikTok, which allows users to create and share videos with special effects, has become a sensation in India, where it has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users so far, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower, out of more than 1 billion installs globally.

Its runaway popularity has attracted criticism from some politicians, however, in a largely conservative society that can have a low boiling point for even moderately racey content.

In the case of TikTok, 15-second dance clips and memes dominate the platform, although some videos do show youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-syncing and grooving to popular tunes. Local media have also reported several accidental deaths when users attempted to make videos with knives and guns.

The IT minister of Tamil Nadu state, M. Manikandan, said in February that “young girls and everybody is behaving very badly” on TikTok.

On Wednesday, TikTok vanished from Google and Apple’s app stores in India. The rare takedown of such a popular app came after the Madras High Court said the app encouraged pornography and asked the government to ban it. The federal IT ministry then issued a follow-up directive to Google and Apple.

Industry executives, technology lawyers and free-speech activists interviewed by Reuters on Wednesday said the ban was a major concern.

“It does unnerve me,” said a senior executive working for a social media company in New Delhi. “For the industry, it sets a worrying precedent in India.”

A TikTok spokesman said on Wednesday that it had faith in the judicial system and was “optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by” its millions of users in India. The state court will next hear the case on April 24.

Google told Reuters late on Tuesday it does not comment on individual apps but adheres to local laws. Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

CRITICAL MARKET

TikTok is not the first social media company to run into trouble in India.

Facebook and its messenger app WhatsApp, which count India as their biggest market, have been under pressure from authorities to better tackle fake news and monitor content on their platforms.

Global video streaming giant Netflix was dragged into a legal battle last year following a complaint that one of its fictional series insulted a former Indian prime minister.

But industry executives said the ruling against TikTok was particularly worrisome, given that it originated from a public interest complaint brought by an individual in Tamil Nadu – opening their digital content to judicial scrutiny that could potentially derail their India strategy overnight.

“It shows a level of uncertainty which is not great for investors, for private equity firms and for venture capital,” said Apar Gupta, executive director at advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation.

India is a critical market for social media and mobile digital content companies as the country is witnessing a sharp surge in use of smartphones. An estimated half-a-billion Indians now have access to the Internet.

Singapore-based Bigo, which has a live video streaming app, has also been expanding in India. TikTok’s owner Bytedance Technology Co, one of the world’s most valuable start-ups, also runs another social app named Helo, which allows users to share content in local languages.

Bytedance has more than 250 employees in India, with plans to expand further, one of its court filings showed. It had about two dozen India job openings listed on LinkedIn as of Wednesday.

SEXUAL PREDATORS

Such is the TikTok craze that a Reuters photographer recently saw more than a dozen youngsters shooting TikTok videos on their smartphones at a popular Mumbai promenade. While some danced as they lip-synced to songs, others used teddy bears as props.

The Tamil Nadu court, which ruled against TikTok, said inappropriate content was its dangerous aspect and that the app could expose children to sexual predators.

The ban does not apply to use of the TikTok app if it has already been downloaded.

The Chinese company unsuccessfully argued at the Supreme Court last week that a ban “amounts to curtailing of the (free speech) rights of the citizens of India”.

A “very minuscule” proportion of TikTok’s videos were considered inappropriate or obscene, the company said in its Supreme Court filing, adding that it was primarily an entertainment platform.

That argument cut no ice with the app’s critics, however.

Hindu nationalist group Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, which is close to India’s ruling party and had previously criticized the app’s content, on Wednesday welcomed the ban, saying TikTok was “against Indian culture and morality”.

It also struck a chord in some family living rooms in India.

“From small kids to old ladies, it is spoiling the minds of everyone,” said S. Nithyajothi, a homemaker from the southern city of Madurai. “I strictly ask anyone coming to my house to not talk about TikTok, it is addictive and it is unnecessary.”

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Sankalp Phartiyal; Additional reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan and Danish Siddique; Editing by Martin Howell and Alex Richardson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The XBox booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: The XBox booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake/File Photo

April 16, 2019

By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday its Xbox Game Studios will partner with Turner Sports’ ELEAGUE to produce a documentary series about “Gears of War” players in conjunction with a new version of the video game launching later this year.

The series will feature six hour-long programs focusing on the new game, called Gears 5, and the lives of its star players from around the globe. It will debut June 14 on Turner’s TBS network.

ELEAGUE produces content about esports and live tournaments. It is a partnership between Turner Sports, a unit of AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia, and entertainment talent agency IMG.

Esports fans watch live video game tournaments online as well as in packed stadiums.

In July, ELEAGUE will also host the first-ever Gears 5 esports tournament and reveal its first multiplayer mode in action, with coverage streamed on Twitch and Bleacher Report Live. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

For Turner, the partnership is another opportunity to serve its sports and entertainment audience while also reaching new segments of the ballooning gaming viewership.

“The audience is the most coveted demographic in the media landscape,” Craig Barry, chief content officer for Turner Sports, told Reuters. “We know they’re out there, we know they’re engaged. No one’s really cracked the code yet.”

Esports fans are younger, more interactive and often more affluent than other sports audiences.

Global esports revenues will grow nearly 27 percent to $1.1 billion this year, according to Newzoo research.

Those numbers include all aspects of the industry, so ELEAGUE is targeting a smaller slice with Gears.

Gears – developed by The Coalition, a studio within Microsoft’s gaming business – has particularly impassioned fans, said Rose Gunson, program manager for Gears of War at Microsoft.

“Our players are very engaging, they have huge personalities. They are very interesting to watch,” Gunson said.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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FILE PHOTO: Directors Joe and Anthony Russo pose for a portrait while promoting the film
FILE PHOTO: Directors Joe (L) and Anthony Russo pose for a portrait while promoting the film “Avengers: Endgame” in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 6, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

April 16, 2019

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The directors of “Avengers: Endgame” pleaded with fans on Tuesday not to spoil the movie by giving away storylines after reports that some scenes had leaked online.

In an open letter posted on Twitter under the hashtag #DontSpoilTheEndgame, Joe and Anthony Russo said they and the vast cast of the upcoming Marvel superhero movie “have worked tirelessly for the last three years with the sole intention of delivering a surprising and emotionally powerful conclusion” to the saga.

“When you see Endgame in coming weeks, please don’t spoil it for others, the same way you wouldn’t want it spoiled for you,” they added.

Walt Disney Co’s “Avengers: Endgame” marks the conclusion of a story told across 22 Marvel films. The plot has been shrouded in secrecy, with no advance screenings for the entertainment press. Sales of advance tickets earlier this month surpassed those of 2015 movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The film, which brings together multiple comic book characters, starts its rollout on April 24 in Australia and China before arriving in the United States on April 25.

Some fans said on Tuesday they had seen brief, grainy scenes on Reddit, YouTube and other platforms, but the footage was swiftly removed. Reuters has not seen the leaked scenes and Disney declined to comment.

The #DontSpoilTheEnding hashtag was one of the top Twitter trends on Tuesday. Some fans who said they had viewed the leaks said they only increased their anticipation for the movie.

“I was upset for about 0.2 seconds then realized how cool it was and it made me so hyped,” a person with the user name thestaggie posted on Reddit.

Chris Smith, a contributor to the BGR.com entertainment and tech news site, wrote that he had seen a leak but that it “doesn’t really give away the ending” of the movie, although it contained scenes that had not been shown in any of the trailers or official clips released so far.

“I don’t consider that the leak has actually ruined the movie for me. It just makes me want to watch it even more than I already did,” wrote Smith.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

April 16, 2019

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Shares of Netflix jumped 3 percent on Tuesday ahead of the streaming video service’s quarterly results, with traders expecting a larger than normal reaction from the stock as new competition looms from Walt Disney Co.

Netflix will be the first to report March-quarter earnings among major high-growth firms and Wall Street’s reaction to its results will be viewed as an indicator of what to expect when Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc report next week.

“There is some concern that real competition is entering the market, but Netflix is still a good proxy for investor risk appetite, especially for technology,” said Joel Kulina, Senior Vice President of Institutional Cash Equities at Wedbush Securities.

Options traders expect Netflix shares to swing by about 7% in either direction in the session after its report, which is expected after the market closes on Tuesday. That is more than the median move of 5.4% in Netflix’s eight most recent quarterly reports, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert.

On Jan. 18 following its last quarterly results, Netflix dropped 4% over concerns about slowing growth, and investors are now focused on how Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings plans to fend off a major challenge from Walt Disney, with its upcoming Disney+ streaming service.

(GRAPHIC: Walt Disney mounts a challenge to Netflix – https://tmsnrt.rs/2VN8dcL)

Disney’s stock has surged 12% since it unveiled the service last week, which will be priced below Netflix and include some of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises. Netflix has slipped almost 3% during that time.

“The real question that investors will want answered is how will the company launch a counterattack to Disney’s massive offensive that is on the horizon?,” Jones Trading Chief Market Strategist Mike O’Rourke wrote in a client note.

The so-called FANG group of high-growth stocks, including Facebook, Netflix, Google-parent Alphabet and Amazon, has rebounded sharply following a steep market selloff late last year. Facebook is up 36% year to date, followed by Netflix’s 34% rise. Facebook reports on April 24, Amazon reports on April 25 and Alphabet Inc reports on April 29.

For the first quarter, Netflix has said https://s22.q4cdn.com/959853165/files/doc_financials/quarterly_reports/2018/q4/01/FINAL-Q4-18-Shareholder-Letter.pdf it expects to add 8.9 million global subscribers.

Analysts on average expect Netflix to report a 21.6% rise in quarterly revenue to $4.5 billion, which would be its most modest quarterly revenue increase since 2013, according to Refinitiv. Analysts on average expect non-GAAP earnings per share of 57 cents.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich, additional reporting by Saqib Ahmed in New York; editing by Grant McCool)

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