Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In a world where there's so much content to chose from, media companies are building up popular franchises with name recognition to lure consumers.

Driving the news: Disney's mega-success at the box office this weekend stems from its focus on franchises.

  • "Marvel has perfectly executed a strategy that has been years in the making as they have produced consistently great movies that have thrilled and engaged audiences around the world as reflected in their 22 straight number one debuts since 'Iron Man' in 2008," says Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. 

What's new: Digital companies are starting to mimic this strategy.

  • The New York Times is putting digital series "Modern Love," "Overlooked," and "Diagnosis" on the small screen.
  • Viacom Digital Studios is creating a half dozen Spongebob Squarepants spin-offs, some of which will live on other platforms, like YouTube.
  • Vox Media is reorganizing its entertainment teams to focus on creating content that can be dispersed on various platforms, including Netflix and traditional TV shows.

Between the lines: Some of the strongest media franchises in history haven't come from media companies themselves, but rather sports leagues.

  • The NBA, WWE, NFL and others have mastered the ability to create strong characters and storylines that be dispersed on all kinds of platforms, from TV screens to sports jerseys to video games.

Go deeper: Generics are the new brands

Go deeper

Competitors ready to pounce on TikTok bans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Growing security and privacy concerns over Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok have given a lift to alternatives like Byte and Dubsmash, which have seen spikes in downloads from smartphone users recently, according to data from SensorTower.

Why it matters: If TikTok's meteoric rise in popularity among U.S. youth gets slowed by rising tensions with China, or ended by a threatened ban by the Trump administration, American teens will still have to get their hits of meme-laden video somewhere.

41 mins ago - Technology

U.S. pushes homegrown drone industry amid China battle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Alarmed at the prospect of relying on Chinese-made drones for public safety and monitoring critical industries, U.S. investors and the federal government are newly backing a domestic drone industry of hardware and software companies.

The big picture: The moves come as the industry continues to be led by DJI, a Chinese hardware maker — and as concerns grow both in China and the U.S. about reliance on the other country's technology.

Exclusive: The N.Y. Times doubles down on TV and film ambitions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of the country's oldest and most established media companies is starting to look more like a Hollywood studio than a traditional newspaper.

Driving the news: The New York Times has 10 scripted TV show projects in development, as well as 3 feature documentaries coming out this year and several other documentary projects in development and production, executives tell Axios.