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AT&T logo in New York. Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Telecom giants AT&T and Verizon are both pursuing a strategy that marries content and distribution. But they are taking two different approaches and, so far, seeing radically different results.

Verizon admitted Tuesday that its media arm, Oath — which consists of AOL, HuffPost, Yahoo and other digital brands — is struggling to drive revenue. Meanwhile, AT&T said Wednesday that WarnerMedia, its media division that was formerly called Time Warner, is flourishing.

Why it matters: Oath is driven by digital ad income, whereas WarnerMedia is driven by revenue from streaming subscriptions, its studio business and its digitally-sold television ads business. The digital ad business continues to be a tough marketplace for media companies competing with tech giants like Google and Facebook, whereas those tech giants have yet to dominate subscription streaming, movies, and digitally-sold TV ads.

What they're saying:

  • Verizon conceded in its earnings press release that it expects Oath revenues "to be relatively flat" in the near-term and "does not expect to meet the previous target of $10 billion in Oath revenues by 2020." Oath was down 6.9% in revenue year over year.
  • AT&T CFO John Stephens told investors on a call Wednesday that higher subscription revenues at HBO and Turner as well as increased TV licensing revenues at Warner Bros. helped drive WarnerMedia's success. WarnerMedia's revenue was up 6.5% year over year.

Between the lines: While this was only the first full quarter of earnings reported for WarnerMedia under its new parent company, all signs point to optimism from investors.

  • Oath, on the other, hand, is facing a brutal outlook from both investors and media experts. Many, including Former Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman, have suggested that Verizon should spin off Oath.
  • The company has lost the majority of its top executives since it was acquired last year, including CEO Tim Armstrong. As a result, Verizon says it's focusing its future investments on building out its national 5G network.

Bottom line: Even in an Internet age, TV content still has value, regardless of which screens are used to view it. On the other hand, Internet media continues to be a tough sale, even when you own the pipe.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
55 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

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