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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 presidential election is being fought online at a level we've never seen before, eclipsing television's traditional dominance.

Why it matters: Television is still one of the most important vehicles for candidates to message during a presidential election, especially during the general election, but its dominance is quickly being eaten by digital, and that's including digital alternatives of television, like commercials on Hulu.

By the numbers: Roughly $152 million has been spent so far, per political advertising research firm Advertising Analytics.

  • Digital advertising accounts for 57.5% of tracked spending (broadcast: 33.6%, cable: 8.1%, radio: 0.4%, satellite: 0.1%).
  • What's next: Up to $3 billion is expected on the presidential race alone, with at least $6 billion expected for all political races.
Expand chart
Data: Advertising Analytics; Note: Trump total includes $20m from Trump Make America Great Again Committee; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Between the lines: The split so far between Facebook and Google leans heavily to Facebook — $56 million vs. $31 million.

  • Candidates typically begin to ramp up their spending on Google's YouTube later in the race, according to data from progressive technology firm Tech for Campaigns. 
  • TV's share will increase in the general election, when candidates pour more money into local broadcast get-out-the-vote ads.
Expand chart
Adapted from a Bully Pulpit interactive chart; Chart: Axios Visuals

What to watch: Democrats launch $75 million digital campaign to take on Trump

Go deeper

Bill Gates faces scrutiny over relationship with Microsoft employee, Epstein ties

Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Representatives for Bill Gates pushed back on claims Sunday that he left Microsoft's board because of an earlier sexual relationship and against two other reports detailing more extensive ties with Jeffrey Epstein than had previously been reported.

Driving the news: Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Axios that it "received a concern" in 2019 that its co-founder "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," but denied a Wall Street Journal report that its board members thought Gates should resign over the matter.

AT&T in talks with Discovery to combine media assets

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T is in talks with media giant Discovery about merging its media assets, like CNN, TBS and TNT, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: A potential merger could allow AT&T and Discovery to better compete with entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix in the video streaming wars.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Franklin Graham worries Trump too old to run in 2024

Graham and Trump at a rally in 2017. Photo: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Rev. Franklin Graham says a potential 2024 presidential bid by Donald Trump would "be a very tough thing to do," the prominent Christian leader told "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, was among Trump's earliest and most prominent evangelical defenders.