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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

April 2020 will be a decisive moment for the future of television. Jeffrey Katzenberg's short-form video app Quibi, NBC's streaming service Peacock, and AT&T's streaming service HBO Max are all slated to launch within weeks of one another that month.

Why it matters: The threat of competition from these services is already starting to shake investor confidence in Netflix, which has been the dominant player in the streaming field for years. The company's stock hit its lowest point this year on Tuesday.

Yes, but: It will be hard for any one new streamer to establish a dominant footprint out of the gate. Selecting streaming services is already complicated enough for consumers, who are overwhelmed by choices and frustrated by the rising cost of digital TV.

  • According to media and entertainment consultancy Frank N. Magid Associates, the average person is willing to spend $42 on streaming services per month, which is up from $38 last year.

Between the lines: For now, the only way for these services to differentiate themselves is through splashy content deals and expensive marketing.

  • Disney shelled out big bucks for ads during this past weekend's Emmys. But it shared the spotlight with Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix — all of which also ran ads during the program.
  • HBO Max announced that it had acquired the rights to stream "The Big Bang Theory" exclusively, for a reported $600 million. Its rivals are also shelling out millions for exclusive rights to old TV classics that they hope will lure users.

More from Axios: New streamers battle over old shows ... The rising cost of digital TV ... Streaming choices overwhelm consumers

Go deeper

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.