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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

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines

A health care worker administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Ruleville, Mississippi. Photo: Rory Doyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. is now vaccinating an average of 2 million people a day, up from 1.3 million in early February.

Why it matters: That puts us on track to hit President Biden's goal of 100 million doses a month ahead of schedule.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.