Snapchat wants to beat Facebook at video content

Illustration: Greg Ruben / Axios; Photo: Mark Lennihan / AP

Snapchat has launched over a dozen exclusive mobile partnerships this year, many of which are with TV networks, hoping to reach millennials who are cutting the cord. By comparison, Facebook and Twitter have been slow to win over publishers for exclusive video deals, focusing instead on pursuing live-streaming contracts, particularly in sports, and entertainment.

Why it matters: Snapchat can't stop Facebook from copying its features and eating its 'Stories' audience, so the self-proclaimed "camera company" is setting itself up to beat Facebook in the content game. Specifically, Snap is hoping to capture a piece of the roughly $70 billion U.S. TV ad market.

Why publishers like Snap: New Nielsen data commissioned by Snapchat and provided exclusively to Axios shows that Snapchat provided a 16% increase in average monthly reach in Discover partners' TV audience, compared to a 5% decrease for the six months prior to the partnership. Digital companies are finding similar success. The same study shows that Snap provided a 20% increase in average monthly desktop reach, and a 23% increase in their average monthly mobile reach for publishers on Discover. In some cases, Snapchat's younger reach means money. Per Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore:

Snapchat is our biggest revenue source on distributed platforms ... It's very profitable for us because it's a huge audience and it's an audience that we can't reach elsewhere.

What's next: Social platforms are becoming new homes for original content in shorter, digital-first formats. Grabyo media agency President Mike Kelley tells Axios, "Ad buyers see we have entered into a new era of content deals on social media platforms. They are competing for digital distribution rights through a combination of license fees, advertising or revenue share. The social platforms have become the new Comcast or DirectTV and are extending the 'golden age' of content for the foreseeable future."

Featured Facts Matter

Trump's corporate tax cut compared to other countries

The issue:

Trump has proposed cutting the corporate tax rate from the current 39% to 15%.

The facts:

Where the U.S. stands today:

Data: The Tax Foundation; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters:

Currently the U.S. has the third-highest corporate tax rate in the world, but if Trump succeeds in the tax cut, the U.S. will be among the 20 countries with the lowest corporate tax rate.


Health care is now in the hands of GOP moderates

Ross D. Franklin / AP

The House Republican health care bill is alive again! It's picking up some votes from the conservative Freedom Caucus, and there's even legislative text now. The only thing it doesn't seem to have: moderate Republican votes.

That's a problem, though it may be mostly the moderates' problem. Because now all the pressure is going to be on them.

  • If House Republicans can't get the 216 votes they need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act now, it's all going to be pinned on the moderates, which is exactly what they were afraid of.
  • But if they do vote for it, they're going to be slammed for weakening the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with pre-existing conditions, as well as the benefits insurers have to provide. The whole point of the amendment is to let states write their own rules on those.
  • These are exactly the kinds of changes that got disastrous polling numbers in the ABC News-Washington Post poll yesterday. (Just 26 percent of Americans want to let states decide pre-existing condition coverage.)
  • The amendment does have limits: people with pre-existing conditions couldn't be denied coverage, they'd just be charged more, but only if they lived in states that got waivers and they didn't keep themselves insured, plus the state has to have a high-risk pool. Try explaining that at the next town hall.
  • But if moderates reject the compromise, they'll be the target of conservative groups that have already accused them of standing in the way.
  • About the only moderate who's safe in this is Rep. Tom MacArthur, the author of the amendment. And he was already a yes on the GOP health care bill anyway.

Pai courts conservative groups ahead of net neutrality fight

Robin Groulx / Axios

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been lining up the conservative base to have his back in the looming net neutrality fight.

That debate kicks off this afternoon, when Pai gives a speech laying out his strategy for reversing the legal underpinnings of the FCC's sweeping net neutrality rules. Liberal-leaning advocates have traditionally been able to mobilize millions of consumers to file comments and arrange headline-grabbing protests during these battles, something conservative groups have not been as effective at doing.

Why it matters: If Pai can can gin up the support of vocal conservatives to defend him, he'll have more momentum to push his proposal over the finish line.

The details:

  • The chairman met last Friday with conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform and FreedomWorks, according to multiple sources. According to a source who was in the room: "The ask was, 'We would like for you to get engaged, it's up to you to decide what to say, but here's our view.'" Participants were briefed on the timeline of the rollout of Pai's strategy.
  • In March, Pai hired Nathan Leamer, a well-liked staffer at the conservative R Street Institute, to work on outreach to advocacy groups. Leamer declined to comment on his role or the meeting.
  • Leamer played to conservative values in his outreach. Earlier this month, he wrote in an email about one of his boss' proposals criticized by the European Union's ambassador that "the FCC is geared toward a simultaneously free market and #AmericaFirst approach." He also cited favorable coverage in Breitbart and the Daily Caller, and suggested that his readers "feel free to start a USA! chant on your evening walk. I know I will!"

Older voters backed Brexit and Trump. Now they're behind Macron

Key voting bloc (AP/Keith Srakocic)

Older voters are proving pivotal in the topsy-turvy age of anti-establishment politics — those over 65 years old were on the winning side in Brexit, President Trump's victory and the first round of the French presidential election.

Far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen beat centrist Emmanuel Macron 25.7% to 24.6% in the 18 to 25 age group. But Macron walloped Le Pen 40.6% to 9.7% among those 65 and older.

Bottom line: Youth unemployment has seemed to be a reliable indicator of political restiveness in the current turbulence, but it has been less reliable than senior citizen opinion.

Get smarter: The latest pre-election polls had Macron leading Le Pen by better than a 20-point margin. But if she makes a big play for senior citizens, and Macron's support among them slips, watch out.

In the Brexit vote last June, only 19% of those 18 to 24 voted to leave the European Union. But 59% of older Britons voted to leave.

In the U.S. presidential election, the age groups went the same way in terms of establishment versus shake-up-the-system — young people again wanted the status quo. But older voters prevailed: Among voters 18 to 25 Hillary Clinton beat Trump by a whopping 18 percentage points, but Trump beat Clinton by 8 percentage points among voters 65 and older.

The trend suggests that older voters will again be the bellwether in the second round of French elections on May 7 and in German elections in September.


Doctors don't really have the equal pay thing down yet

Looks like the gender pay gap is a real issue for doctors, too. Doximity, a professional social network for physicians, is out this morning with a survey that shows women physicians earn an average of nearly 27 percent less than men. It's a survey of the salary data reported by 36,000 of its members.

Data: Doximity Physician Compensation Report; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

What's missing: Any explanation of why the pay gaps exist. That's because the survey didn't try to look for causes, which would be hard to pin down anyway, according to the survey's lead author, Chris Whaley of the Berkeley School of Public Health. He said they'll try to dig into that in a later survey — though in other professions, the gender gap is usually caused by a combination of bias, differences in training and background, and differences in negotiating power. "It really begs more questions than it answers," said Doximity's Joel Davis.

Notable: The survey also found huge differences in physician pay between different metropolitan areas, sometimes within the same state. The lesson, according to Davis: "Health care in the United States really is a local market."


Public doesn't like Trump using insurer payments as negotiating tactic

President Trump's idea of withholding Affordable Care Act insurer payments to get Democrats to negotiate on health care isn't going over well with the public. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that six out of 10 Americans don't want Trump to use negotiating tactics on the ACA repeal and replacement plan that could disrupt the markets. Just 36 percent think it's a good idea.

Between the lines: But look at how public opinion breaks down by party. Most Republicans are fine with the Trump strategy. They're just out of step with Democrats and independents.

Data: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll (conducted April 17-23, 2017); Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Yes, but: That doesn't mean the public wants Republicans to stop working on a repeal and replacement plan: 51 percent want them to keep working on it, while just 43 percent want them to move on. It's a pretty sharp contrast to yesterday's ABC News/Washington Post poll, which found that just 37 percent want the law to be repealed and replaced. (The Kaiser poll did find that the Americans are warming up to the ACA a bit: 48 percent have favorable views, 41 percent unfavorable.)


Opioid crisis: trying to solve "the worst epidemic in U.S history"

Chuck Kennedy / Axios

At an Axios and HBO Documentary Films presentation of the documentary, Warning: This Drug May Kill You, Dr. Andrew Kolodny of Brandeis University put the urgency of the opioid crisis in context: "It truly is the worst epidemic in United States history."

Senator Rob Portman said the solution must start with drug companies: "They need to come up with non-addictive pain medication."

How the epidemic started: According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the healthcare system doesn't train doctors on when to prescribe opioids, and "there is still very little recognition of addiction as a disease."

Potential solutions:

  • Alternative treatments: Dr. Volkow called for investment into alternative pain medication. Dr. Kolodny noted that as doctors started prescribing more and more opioid pain meds "there was actually less prescribing non-addictive pain meds," like Tylenol and Advil.
  • The big picture: According to Congressman Tim Ryan, "You've got to focus on the prevention, then the punishment, the criminal justice side, then you've got to isolate the addicted" and get them treatment.
  • The legislation: The Cures Act, which has already given Ohio $500 million, and the Comprehensive Care & Addiction Act, which Portman says has a more long term focus and will be a "stronger bill over time." Portman said he also wants to require pharmacists to register doctors and help them to identify addicts.
  • Stopping Fentanyl shipments: Fentanyl, a type of opioid which is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, is coming into the U.S. primarily through shipments from China, and people are dying at an increasing rate from overdoses from it. Portman says the shipments must be stopped and that can be done by working with FedEx and UPS and law enforcement.
For perspective on the opioid epidemic, check out our Facts Matter here.

In surprise TED talk, Pope Francis embraces science, but urges humanity


In a surprise appearance — albeit via a recorded video — Pope Francis became the first sitting pope to give a TED talk.

In the speech, played Tuesday night, Pope Francis sounded familiar notes on social justice, but also reached out to the techie crowd.

How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion? How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us?

His key message: We should be doing more to put humans at the center of our technology and not relegate caring for our fellow humans to "social work."

Embraces immigrant roots: The pope notes that he was an immigrant whose father and grandfather left Italy for Argentina. "I could have very well ended up among today's 'discarded' people. And that's why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: 'Why them and not me?'"

Criticizes culture of waste: "Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the 'culture of waste,' which doesn't concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people."


A key part of the House GOP health care compromise

AP file photo

An amendment written by Rep. Tom MacArthur, the basis of a health care deal among House Republicans, allows states to get waivers from the Affordable Care Act's essential health benefit requirements as well as waivers to vary premiums based on health status in limited circumstances.

Both waivers have conditions. Read on for the details.

A waiver from the essential health benefits would be allowed only if a state's plan does one of five things:

    1. Reduces premiums
    2. Increases enrollment
    3. Stabilizes the market
    4. Stabilizes premiums for people with pre-existing conditions
    5. Increases choice of plans
For a waiver on the ban on raising premiums for those with pre-existing conditions, the state must have a high-risk pool.
Other parts of the bill:
  • If a person has stayed insured, they won't see premium increases. The only people with pre-existing conditions who might have to pay higher premiums would be new enrollees in states that get waivers. For those people, the penalty included in the original House health care bill for not having continuous coverage could also be waived.
  • The bill explicitly says states can't vary premiums based on gender.
  • It also says states can't limit access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.