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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

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

The rise of military space powers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nations around the world are shoring up their defensive and offensive capabilities in space — for today's wars and tomorrow's.

Why it matters: Using space as a warfighting domain opens up new avenues for technologically advanced nations to dominate their enemies. But it can also make those countries more vulnerable to attack in novel ways.