Scoop: Bloomberg expects eight figures for new Twitter network - Axios
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Scoop: Bloomberg expects eight figures for new Twitter network

Photo: Bloomberg

Bloomberg's new Twitter network will launch on Dec. 18 with six founding partners: Goldman Sachs, Infiniti, TD Ameritrade, CA Technologies, AT&T and CME Group — and more are in the works. The average price point of the partnerships is $1.5 to 3 million, leading to Bloomberg securing eight figures in revenue in its first year.

Why it matters: The investment is a part of a major digital push by the company to stay competitive in an era where Google and Facebook have tightened their grip on the digital advertising market.

The details: Bloomberg is hiring around 50 people to staff the new project, which will exist as the first 24-hour social news network on Twitter.

"In this age of the Google/Facebook duopoly, a relentless focus on invention and innovation is the only way to succeed," says Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith. "The fruits of disruption don't and shouldn't only belong to the dominant tech (aka "Media") platforms."

"Massive growth opportunities are available to all, but they require companies and leaders aggressively committed to new thinking and new models," says Smith.

  • Bloomberg Media's digital advertising revenue has grown over 25% year to date, through Q3 and Q4 advertising bookings are pacing even stronger. The company just has its best-performing quarter ever, largely thanks to advertising sales revenue. Its Q3 total advertising revenue grew more than 5% year over year, driven by digital growth in custom content, video, audio, and programmatic.
  • Bloomberg today offers 27 different ad tech products, which are developed in-house. The site's current design is a product of in-house engineers pushing for a clean, scrolling user experience that mimicks the interactions a user would typically see on a tech platform. An in-house product called Javelin was built to cut page load time by 30-50%.
  • Bloomberg has so far collected data on more than 1 million users across its digital platforms, driving personalization on its site and apps and helping its newsroom automatically tag stories with metadata.
  • Data-driven insights have also become a major revenue stream for Bloomberg, with ad products like Trigr that allow marketers to buy ads in response to the markets in real time.

A commitment to digital has transcended to Bloomberg's TV and video strategy, with strategic investments in over-the-top and connected devices. On Amazon, Bloomberg recently launched a new video flash briefing for the Echo Show device in July, which has doubled in audience-size since March.

Traffic to Bloomberg's OTT platforms grew +12% month over month from August to September, driven by Apple TV and Samsung TV viewership.

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Jeff Flake caught on hot mic: GOP is "toast"

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Sen. Jeff Flake didn't realize his mic was still on after speaking at a tax reform event, telling Mesa, Arizona, Mayor John Giles: "If [Republicans] become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast," according to Arizona's ABC affiliate.

Why it matters: Flake has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration, as well as the current attitude in the Republican Party, especially since announcing he won't seek re-election. And there's a split in the party over Roy Moore because while many Republicans have spoken out against him, the President has stayed silent.

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The price of being a predator

Photo: Scott Kirkland / AP

The public allegations against Harvey Weinstein, which first came to light over a month ago in the New York Times, started a domino effect of powerful men being called out for their inappropriate behavior towards men and women alike.

Why it matters: These men are losing everything: book deals are falling through, lawsuits are being filed, they're quitting their jobs (or being forced out), losing their companies, and more. This sends a message to predators throughout industries: if you abuse your power and position, you will lose.

The price of being a creep:

  • Harvey Weinstein - lost his company, and is under investigation. The Manhattan district attorney is seeking approval for an indictment as early as next week.
  • Kevin Spacey - replaced in upcoming film "All the Money in the World," dropped by his agency, publicist, and Netflix.
  • Mark Halperin - lost his book deal, an HBO series, and contributing spots with NBC and MSNBC.
  • James Toback - dropped by his talent agency.
  • Michael Fallon - resigned as U.K. defense minister.
  • Michael Oreskes - resigned as NPR news chief.
  • Roy Price - resigned as Amazon Studios director.
  • Leon Wieseltier - financial support for his magazine was pulled before launch.
  • John Besh - stepped down as CEO of Besh Restaurant Group, Harrah's New Orleans Casino has cut relations with the company.
  • Brett Ratner - Warner Bros. severed ties with the director, and Playboy Enterprises is shelving projects in which he's involved.
  • Lockhart Steele - fired from Vox Media as editorial director.
  • Chris Savino - fired by Nickelodeon.
  • Kirk Webster - lost his country music PR company (which changed its name to Westby PR) and was dropped by clients like Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, and Kid Rock.
  • Terry Richardson - Condé Nast International cut ties with the fashion photographer.
What to watch for: There are several men who have been accused (U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, Sen. Al Franken) who have not yet faced consequences.
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Top U.S. nuclear commander says he would refuse illegal orders from Trump

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. John E. Hyten, the head of Strategic Command. Photo: Nati Harnik / AP

Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Air Force General John Hyten, said he would refuse illegal orders from President Trump, according to CBS.

"I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do...And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal,'" Hyten said at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia. "And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up with options...It's not that complicated."
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Trump has started paying his own legal fees

Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

Axios' Jonathan Swan reported in October that Trump would spend at least $430,000 of personal funds to pay legal fees of current and former campaign and White House staff wrapped up in the Russia probe. And now he has officially begun paying his own legal fees, which were previously covered by the RNC.

Why it matters: Now the question is how to meet ethical and regulatory standards so it doesn't appear that Trump's personal payments are influencing his staffers in the Russia investigation. Bloomberg reports the Office of Government Ethics are working with a tax firm to iron out those details.

One more thing: Trump does not plan to pay for those who "served exclusively during the campaign," per Bloomberg, including Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, or George Papadopoulos, all of whom were indicted last month.

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Trump admin's new strategy for dealing with North Korea

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

An emergency funding request of $4 billion dollars sent to Congress last week shows a new interest from the Trump administration in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat; it wants to stop nuclear weapons from flying before they even really get started, the NYT reports. This would interfere with control systems in the North or shoot them down just after liftoff.

Why it matters: Other methods of intercepting North Korean missiles only work about half the time — and that's only in test situations.

The challenge: Even if we develop this kind of defense, the risk is that the phase is so short (about a minute or so), that the U.S. probably wouldn't be able to reach the missile in time, and if we falsely detect a nuclear launch — but it's actually just a test — we risk provoking North Korean retaliation.

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The gun control legislation even Republicans like

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy introduced a bill aimed to make it harder for individuals who shouldn't be able to purchase a gun to eventually get ahold of one, and it's quickly gaining support from Republicans, per The Atlantic.

Why it matters: The bill would make the federal background check system for gun sales more strict. This is particularly important to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle after it was revealed the Holland Air Force Base didn't update its database with relevant information about the Sutherland Springs church shooting suspect -- information that would have barred him from getting a gun.

This also matters because one GOP congressman told reporters a week after the church shooting that he worried the trend of not updating these databases is "a bigger problem than we've seen.

Lawmakers who support the bill: Democratic Sens. Murphy, Jeanne Shaheen, Richard Blumenthal, and Dianne Feinstein, and GOP Sens. John Cornyn, Orrin Hatch, Tim Scott, and Dean Heller.

GOP senators won't have to worry about supporting what might seem like a gun control bill. As Chris Cox of the NRA said in a statement to The Atlantic: "We applaud Sen. John Cornyn's efforts to ensure that the records of prohibited individuals are entered into NICS. The National Rifle Association has long supported the inclusion of all legitimate records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System."

But its main setback from passing is getting support from congressional leadership. Mitch McConnell's spokesman told The Atlantic they're reviewing the bill, but some worry this legislation could stall in Congress like other attempts at gun legislation.

Go deeper: All the people who can't legally purchase a gun.

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Roy Moore sided with men accused of sexual crimes in 13 of 20 cases

Photo: Brynn Anderson / AP

Roy Moore has a record of being "sharply conservative on social issues but occasionally sympathetic to convicted criminals," according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The Times reported that while Moore was a conservative judge, he often ruled in favor of "a convict's request for the appeal to be heard" during a case. Out of 20 cases regarding sexual crimes and misconduct, Moore "sided with the accused 13 times, a higher rate than almost all of his colleagues." Two former colleagues of Moore told the Times he feared defendants "were sometimes wronged by the system."

  • A teenager was sentenced to 23 years in prison after sexually assaulting a boy at a day care center. Moore argued that the court was "stepping into the shoes of the legislature," and that one of the two sodomy laws used to convict him wasn't applicable to his case.
  • He argued against a man's life sentence, saying "life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a nonviolent, drug-related crime reveals grave flaws in our statutory sentencing scheme."
  • A lawyer that worked with Moore told the Times: "He had no love for criminals, but he believed that every defendant was entitled to the due process of law."
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DHS used cell phone-tracking devices 1,885 times in four years

cell tower is seen from a neighborhood in North Andover, Mass. Photo: Elise Amendola / AP

The Department of Homeland Security used cell phone-tracking devices across the U.S. 1,885 times between 2013 and 2017, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed.

Why it matters: The technology has been criticized by the ACLU for invading the privacy of people in the area not under investigation, as it can collect data from their phones as well, BuzzFeed reports.

How it works: Homeland Security Investigations used "cell-site simulator over-the-air technology," which acts as a cell phone tower, making phones in the area connect to them. It can be used to track down a suspect if authorities already have their phone information.

In a 2015 policy, the DHS said law enforcement agencies had to receive a warrant before using the cell-site simulators, and required them to delete data immediately after a mission.But, how law enforcement uses the devices, "including how often and under what circumstances," is still unclear, per BuzzFeed.
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Software startups raise billions behind closed doors

Courtesy Barron's

"When a venture capitalist coined the concept 'unicorn club' in 2013, it referred to software start-ups valued at $1 billion or more — just 39 at that time. ... Today, Dow Jones VentureSource tracks 170 unicorns," Barron's writes in its cover story:

  • "[T]he unicorns have preferred to raise funds behind closed doors. Just 32 have gone through with initial public offerings ... Large companies like Uber Technologies, Dropbox, Lyft, Spotify, and Airbnb have so far spurned the public market.
  • "As the private companies become household names, they face questions about their workplace cultures, business models — and valuations.
  • Why it matters: "The unicorn experience is teaching us an unexpected lesson: The public markets remain the best place to achieve long-term corporate success."
  • Positive impact of scrutiny and disclosure: "For some unicorns, public disclosures leading up to the IPO have revealed underlying business issues — problems that had been hidden away."
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Trump’s selective outrage on creepy men

"NBC Nightly News"

It was the lead story of the "CBS Evening News." ... On "NBC Nightly News," it was: 'DOUBLE STANDARD?" ... ABC's "World News Tonight" called it 'SELECTIVE OUTRAGE?"

Why it matters, from N.Y. Times' Peter Baker: "[A]fter a wave of harassment claims against powerful men in entertainment, politics, the arts and the news media, the discussion has come full circle with President Trump criticizing the latest politician exposed for sexual misconduct even as he continues to deny any of the accusations against him."

President Trump's taunting of Senator Franken ("Al Frankenstein") for an accusation of sexual harassment, while maintaining a restrained response to the Roy Moore Revelations, is re-raising past questions about the president's own treatment of women.

"[A]s one prominent figure after another takes a dive, the question remains: Why not Trump?" AP asks:

  • "The charges leveled against him emerged in the supercharged thick of the 2016 campaign, when there was so much noise and chaos that they were just another episode for gobsmacked voters to try to absorb."
  • "[T]he president who rarely sits out a feeding frenzy is selectively aiming his Twitter guns at those under scrutiny. ... Trump has been largely mum as Washington Republicans try to figure out what to do about Moore."

The response ... At yesterday's White House briefing, Sarah Sanders said: "The American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this President."

  • "I think in one case, specifically, Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the President hasn't. I think that's a very clear distinction."