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Less than two weeks after CNBC reported that the Walt Disney Company approached 21st Century Fox about an acquisition of its entertainment assets, Verizon and Comcast are both expressing interest, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Some media experts believe that the CNBC story was used a signal from Fox executives to potential buyers that it was interested dumping its entertainment assets to focus on its global news and sports properties. Both Comcast and Verizon have made major investments in content companies in an effort to scale their digital audiences, primarily through video on mobile.

Go deeper: The Fox acquisition would be noteworthy given its size ($50 billion + market cap) and given the regulatory environment a deal would be met with. The DOJ's antitrust division is currently weighing a lawsuit against AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, and AT&T may take the issue to court.

  • Comcast owns NBC Universal, and its entertainment assets, and is an investor in several other content companies, like Buzzfeed, Vox and Axios.
  • Verizon acquired Oath earlier this year, which includes media properties like AOL, HuffPo, Yahoo and more. Oath CEO Tim Armstrong has been vocal about how the merger would give the company the scale in user data it would need to take on Google and Facebook's advertising business.

Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch brushed off any rumors that Fox was concerned about not having the scale to compete with other entertainment brands on last week's earnings call to investors. "We recognize there'll be challenges to navigate the shifting digital landscape; however, we believe the unique strength and scale of these franchises make the next few years a period of great opportunity," Mudroch said. Still, an entertainment business is tough to sustain in an era where on-demand entertainment viewing is dominated by streaming services, particularly Netflix.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.