Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet and Pandora

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - February 23, 2017 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Facebook (NASDAQ: FB - Free Report ), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL - Free Report ), Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX - Free Report ), Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOGL - Free Report ) and Pandora (NYSE: P - Free Report ).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Tech Stock Roundup: Facebook's TV App, Apple's Original Content

Technology stocks had a relatively quiet week although there were increased signs that companies like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB - Free Report ) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL - Free Report ) were getting more serious about not just content acquisition but also content creation. While this may not be in direct competition with Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX - Free Report ) it does look like competition for Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOGL - Free Report ) YouTube, Spotify and Pandora (NYSE: P - Free Report ). It's also definitely competition for eyeballs in what is limited free time for all-

Facebook TV App

Facebook has launched a new TV app for Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Samsung Smart TV, with possible plans to further expand to other platforms like Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and other streaming devices. While this will likely enable/support longer video formats, Facebook has said its intention is not to compete with Netflix but rather to enable Facebook users to watch their preferred video on just about any screen of their choice (and that includes TV screens).

Of course that's not the only video announcement Facebook made. The company says that henceforth, videos will play automatically with the sound turned on by default (if the device sound is turned on) and the window will retreat to the bottom corner of the screen so you can keep watching the video while scrolling through your newsfeed. Facebook says that testing is showing a positive reaction from users, although it's obvious that not everyone will be overjoyed.

Facebook is also reportedly in talks with music labels to bring their content to the app, which seems like an open challenge to YouTube, Google's competing site. For labels, the new distribution channel will increase their leverage against YouTube for more favorable terms. On the flip side, the chances of piracy will increase given the nature of Facebook's free platform.

The increased scope for advertising is also an indication that the company is gearing up to grab its share of TV ad dollars.

Apple Getting Ready to Debut Reality Show

Eddie Cue, Apple's SVP of Internet software and services used the Recode Media Conference to express a lot of enthusiasm for Apple's soon-to-be released "Planet of the Apps" reality show on its music subscription service. Contestants will get 60 seconds to explain their idea on an escalator and could win up to millions in venture capital funding if judges, Jessica Alba, Gary Vaynerchuk and Gwyneth Paltrow approve. This is the first attempt by Apple to create original content and will likely be joined by Carpool Karaoke in April (Apple bought out the unscripted version of this show in the summer of last year).

Google Fiber Restructuring

Alphabet has been trimming staff at its Access unit, which is responsible for its high-speed Internet service called Fiber. But last week, the trimming was more in the nature of hacking as it transferred hundreds of employees to other units, retaining just enough to work in the field. The unit also has a new CEO in Greg McCray, who was formerly CEO of Aero Communications and currently also serves on the board of telecom company CenturyLink.

The changes while significant are not really surprising, because Google has had a lot of trouble with Fiber not only because of the expense but also because of tussles with telecom companies over their control on telecom poles. In fact, ever since its acquisition of WebPass last year, speculation has been rife that the company will replace or reduce fiber deployment with a cheaper wireless service. That plan seems to have crystallized now as Google cuts staff but remains committed to expanding its Fiber service.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free .

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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