What to Expect During Big Tech’s Big Week
Welcome back to PMG’s latest summer briefing. It’s going to be a busy week, so let’s get to it.
Hurricane Season, Protests, and COVID-19
Big Tech’s Big Week
The Week Ahead
Two severe weather events threatened parts of the country over the weekend, kicking off hurricane season in the Americas. Tropical Storm Hanna made landfall near Houston on Saturday evening, and Hurricane Douglas brushed past North Hawaii, both bringing power outages, strong winds, and plenty of rain and floodwaters.
In other parts of the country, hundreds of federal law-enforcement officers have been deployed to cities such as Portland, Chicago, and Milwaukee, for a myriad of reasons, including an effort to stop “mob violence,” and address a rise in gun violence. In many instances, protests turned to social unrest then violence. The Administration has since faced strong public criticism and calls for de-escalation after videos circulated online of officers tear-gassing protesters, and fires being set outside a federal courthouse.
The US continues its battle with COVID-19, passing four million coronavirus cases late last week. And in other parts of the world that were faring better, the coronavirus is back. Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan all reported high daily infection numbers in the last seven days, showing how challenging it is to protest against the virus. And it’s not just them. According to Reuters, almost 40 countries reported record single-day hikes in coronavirus cases over that same timeframe.
Back in the US, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a coronavirus relief bill from Senate Republicans would be introduced today. The $1 trillion plan reportedly includes another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, funding to help schools reopen, liability protection for businesses, and a short extension of the current unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, more nationwide retailers and chains are setting mask mandates with McDonald’s being the latest to require customers to wear face masks starting on August 1st. The global fast-food chain has also delayed the reopening of dining rooms for another 30 days.
Work on a vaccine is moving fast with nearly 200 vaccine candidates in development, 27 being tested in humans, and a small handful are currently in advanced phases of clinical trials. Concerns remain that even once a vaccine is found, there won’t be enough supply to initially address the scale of the global pandemic.
The Justice Department won’t challenge the merger of the Taboola and Outbrain ad networks.
China ordered the US to close its consulate in the western city of Chengdu, days after the US ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas.
TikTok is launching a $200 million creator fund to help the platform pay creators directly for their videos.
SAP is planning to spin out Qualtrics, its $8 billion acquisition, for an IPO.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the Great American Outdoors Act, which directs billions in funding to national parks and outdoor recreation. Conservationists are calling it the most significant conservation legislation in almost 50 years.
In entertainment, Taylor Swift released a surprise album on Friday, breaking streaming records. Major League Baseball teed off with Dr. Fauci throwing the first pitch of the season for the Washington Nationals. Disney indefinitely delayed the release of Mulan, also pushing the release of the new Avatar and Star Wars series back a year. AMC Theaters is planning to reopen 450 of its US cinemas starting in mid- to late August.
According to Deadline, almost a third of its theaters in Europe and the Middle East have reopened. And lastly, don’t forget Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is only weeks away, though National Geographic’s SharkFest began last week.
The House Judiciary Committee’s Big Tech antitrust hearing initially scheduled for today has been delayed to Wednesday, July 29th to honor the late Representative John Lewis as he lies in state at the US Capitol. Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jeff Bezos are scheduled to testify before the US House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.
The hearing is to examine the power of these companies and whether their actions are anti-competitive even as other investigations continue to mount. Said best by The Information, “the hearing is a culmination of a yearlong antitrust investigation by the Subcommittee. The probe is expected to serve as a foundation for proposed reforms to current antitrust law.”
Related: Protocol has a helpful deep dive into what you can expect.
More than a third of the S&P 500 are expected to report earnings this week, giving us a better understanding of the pandemic’s impact on Q2, and more holistically, H1 2020. Facebook reports earnings Wednesday afternoon then Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet are scheduled to report earnings the following day. As we witnessed last week with Snap, Twitter, and other digital companies, the initial lockdown boost in viewership and user growth appeared to dissolve from April to June. However, Microsoft seemed to emerge from Q2 relatively unscathed.
All that to say, it’ll be a hectic week for Big Tech and other major companies as we get a better understanding of 1) what it will take to get the US economy through this recession, and 2) what’s in store for the antitrust challenges facing the biggest digital companies.
Monday: New coronavirus relief bill to be introduced, US durable goods for June, and the Federal Reserve’s two-day monetary policy meeting begins
Tuesday: NFL players set to report to team training camps, consumer confidence, McDonald’s, Visa, 3M, Starbucks, eBay, and Pfizer earnings
Wednesday: Rescheduled House antitrust hearing, Michelle Obama’s podcast launches, Facebook, GE, Boeing, General Motors, PayPal, Shopify, and Spotify earnings
Thursday: NBA season restarts inside the Disney World bubble, US Q2 GDP numbers, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, P&G, Comcast, Ford, Kellogg, and EA earnings
Friday: Beyonce’s visual Black is King album is released on Disney+, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Caterpillar earnings
The Weekend: NHL season restarts
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That’s everything for this week. See you back on Thursday.
Posted by Abby Long
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