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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of old-line industries that once hesitated to embrace digital technologies are now being forced to do so for the sake of survival.

Why it matters: Once consumers get used to accessing services digitally — from older restaurants finally embracing online ordering, or newspapers finally going all-digital — these industries may find it hard to go back to traditional operations.

Media and entertainment: Venerable mediums like television, newspapers and movies are all quickly moving their content over to digital formats and online delivery as they struggle to adapt.

  • Newspapers are being forced to shut down print editions and ramp up digital operations. “We will look back on these events as a moment at which the newspaper industry’s transition from print to digital accelerated meaningfully," says Jim Friedlich, executive director of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit that supports local news and is the owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Television interviews are overwhelmingly being conducted via Skype or other digital channels. There's been a major uptick in internet video and streaming consumption, per Nielsen. More than a quarter of Americans (26%) are using video streaming services, like Netflix, for the first time, per the Consumer Technology Association.
  • Some movie studios, like Universal Pictures, have said that they will for the first time roll out movies to digital audiences at the same time that they make them available in theaters due to the crisis. Although analysts don't think the box office will ever die, this could put pressure on the traditional 90-day exclusive movie window that theaters used to enjoy over streamers.

Retail: Brick-and-mortar shops that never sold goods online are shifting to that mode at a moment when stores nationwide have shut their doors and customers aren't leaving their homes.

  • Sellers who had offered a limited selection of their wares online are now shifting to full-catalog service.
  • Powell's Books, an iconic Portland independent bookstore, was able to rehire 100 laid-off store employees after a surge of online orders from devoted customers.
  • By contrast, offline-only retailers, including big names like Marshall's and TJ Maxx, are basically out of business until in-person shopping returns.

Food and beverage: Restaurants that chose not to adopt online ordering or delivery services are suddenly finding that to be their lifeline now that many parts of the country have banned on-location dining.

  • Topo Gigio, a small mom and pop Italian restaurant in Chicago, is using delivery services for the first time in its 30-year history. It sees delivery and takeout as a better option than shutting down entirely, its owners tell CBS Chicago.
  • Uber Eats, the food delivery service from Uber, announced two weeks ago that it would waive all delivery fees for local restaurants.

Workouts and fitness: Everything from ballet lessons and karate classes to physical therapy sessions and yoga instruction has gone virtual.

  • In Houston alone, more than a dozen fitness and yoga operations have taken their services online.
  • Some people like to work out with other people for social motivation. Those people may still prefer to go to group fitness classes, but may choose ones that are smaller or in spaces where they can maintain more distance from others, Carl Bialik, data science editor at Yelp, said.
  • "But for business owners that get really comfortable with that, they will probably continue to see that as a much bigger channel than they had before," he said.

The bottom line: Going virtual may open up new markets and new channels for engaging with consumers. But consumers will also likely rush to take part in out-of-home experiences once the pandemic eases and they can leave home again.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.