Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Richard Levine / Corbis via Getty Images

Telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon are racing into the digital advertising space — currently dominated by Google and Facebook — now that Washington has given them the ability to sell data to third-party advertisers.

Why it matters: The growth rate in the digital ad market is expected to decrease over the next four years, according to eMarketer, meaning that any market share internet service providers are able to gain will eventually come at the expense of other advertising-based businesses, mainly Google and Facebook.

AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner will be a linchpin in the battle between internet companies and the web firms that rely on their services. If the merger survives the Department of Justice challenge, AT&T and Verizon — two of the largest internet companies in the U.S. — could collectively put a dent in Google and Facebook's advertising dominance.

  • “What a lot of people don’t understand — and frankly this is what I think the government is missing as it relates to looking at these mergers in a backward-looking way — is we’re competing in the land of the giants," John Martin, chief executive of the Time Warner-owned Turner, said at CES this month. "If you don’t think Facebook and Google and Amazon are the land of the giants, think again."
  • "We believe AT&T, and Verizon more so, are attempting to patch together large-scale inventory pools coupled with their newfound ability to mine browsing history and user data," says Jason Kint, whose trade association Digital Content Next publishes annual forecast for Google and Facebook's ad growth.
  • "If they’re successful, this mostly likely competes with Google and Facebook’s direct marketing and micro-targeting dollars."

Conservative regulators are seizing on this rationale as they pull up telecom regulations, arguing that empowering legacy telecom companies could be an way to curb the dominance of the duopoly.

  • FCC's commissioner Michael O'Rielly, one of the agency's Republican members, told reporters on Monday that lifting regulations on internet service providers was the right way to grapple with the growing influence of Google and Facebook.
  • The commission's Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, said last year that web giants were advocating against his net neutrality repeal to use "the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the Internet economy," adding that "the government shouldn’t aid and abet this effort."
  • The effort to free up ISPs to use data for ad targeting goes as far back as March, when lawmakers voted to roll back privacy rules that covered their customer data.

AT&T and Verizon have taken major steps to take advantage of the regulatory environment that will allow them to dive deep in the ad business.

  • AT&T made waves last year when it hired Brian Lesser as its CEO of advertising and analytics. Currently, AT&T owns the distribution and data from its internet and cable services. It's hoping its merger with Time Warner will give it premium content to sell ads against.
  • Verizon launched Oath last year, which includes media properties like AOL, HuffPo, Yahoo and more, in an effort to scale its advertising footprint. Matthew Ellis, EVP and CFO at Verizon, said last year that with the addition of Oath, Verizon's addressable advertising market "has expanded from millions of wireless and wireline customers to about one billion global content consumers."

Both companies are using brand safety as a major pitch to lure advertisers to their advertising platforms.

  • Google and Facebook are "nervous about the content they’ve produced living in environments they can’t control," Lesser told attendees at last week's AdExchanger Industry Preview conference in New York City.
  • "We are the brightest, biggest alternate threat to the Duopoly because of our focus on an open approach to ad tech and our strength in mobile," Oath's chief revenue officer John DeVine tells Axios. "Agencies and brands are begging to have an alternative and they are rooting for the trust that comes with Oath."

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

16 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

17 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."