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Ng Han Guan / AP

Apple is dumping $1 billion into creating original content in an effort to compete with other major tech giants, mainly YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook, The Wall Street Journal reports. The investment is pretty big compared to what cable companies (other than HBO) spend on original content, but small compared to the investments already being made by other tech companies. For context:

  1. Netflix: ~$6 billion annually
  2. Amazon: ~$4.5 billion annually
  3. HBO: ~$2 billion annually

Why it matters: It's another sign that tech platforms have the budgets and clout to compete with traditional TV for for viewers' eyeballs and attention. It's also representative of the saturated U.S. display advertising market. The tech companies are now all vying to win a chunk of the $70 billion TV ad market by giving brands video content to run ads between on their platforms.

Apple could acquire and produce as many as 10 television shows, sources familiar with the initiative tell The Wall Street Journal. The push is a part of Tim Cook's vision to expand Apple's services business, which includes apps, software, etc and Apple's content SVP Eddy Cue's vision of offering high-quality video. The investment comes just months after Apple poached two executives from Sony's production arm to launch a push into the original programming business.

Our thought bubble: There's going to be a lot more premium video inventory on the major platforms for marketers, and the quality of the content, as well as mobile and digital TV delivery, will be a big part of what drives buys.

Gut check: Digital video ad spend is growing, but TV is still huge.

Go deeper

24 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Representatives from all branches of the military escort the 46th president to the White House.

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