Economy & Business

Why it matters: After a record economic expansion, the coronavirus pandemic sent the U.S. economy into a recession as unemployment soared to staggering heights. The country now faces urgent questions about how much stimulus is needed for reeling consumers and businesses, and what a recovery might look like.

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Netflix's staying power

Reproduced from ANTENNA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Netflix has managed to keep its dominant position as one of the least-canceled subscription services in America, according to data from ANTENNA, which tracks purchase behavior and key metrics across subscription media services. The one exception was in September, when it faced brief backlash around a French film called "Cuties."

Driving the news: Data shows that other streamers, like Disney+ and HBO Max, are able to drive sign-ups and buzz with new hits, but the question is whether they can retain users long-term.

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
40 mins ago - Economy & Business

What the market thinks of Nikola's GM deal

Data: FactSet Chart: Axios Visuals

Nikola Corp.'s stock plummeted yesterday on the news that GM was no longer taking an equity stake in the electric and fuel cell truck company or planning to build its now-kaput Badger pickup.

Yes, but: Nikola will still use GM tech for their planned semitrucks under the scaled-back deal, and some analysts still see an upside.

Scoop: Politico stars plot new Playbook

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow. 

Ben Geman, author of Generate
57 mins ago - Economy & Business

EV truck maker Lion Electric to go public via SPAC merger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Lion Electric, an electric truck and bus company, is going public via a merger with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Northern Genesis Acquisition.

Why it matters: It's the latest in what's becoming a big collection of EV and EV-adjacent companies forgoing traditional IPOs and instead going the SPAC route.

Local news trade groups bid Ajit Pai farewell

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Local news groups will miss Ajit Pai when he leaves his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on January 20.

Why it matters: Despite the fact that the Trump administration broadly was seen as having a hostile view towards the press, Pai was considered by several trade groups as a loyal supporter of local news.

Chernin Group invests $30 million in subscription media company Surfline

Surfline

TCG, a venture affiliate of The Chernin Group that invests in media, entertainment and tech businesses, is investing $30 million in Surfline, a media company that focuses on surfing coverage and live wave and weather forecasts for surfers, executives tell Axios.

The big picture: For Chernin, the investment follows a similar pattern of investing in niche content businesses that don't rely on advertising.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Banks made it harder for consumers to get loans last quarter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Loan growth at U.S. banks declined in the third quarter, as banks tightened lending standards and demand from businesses fell.

Why it matters: It's the latest piece of evidence showing that the Fed's programs are helping prop up Wall Street but aren't trickling down to help most everyday Americans.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Airbnb seeking $2.6 billion in IPO

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Hospitality giant Airbnb on Tuesday set terms for its upcoming IPO, saying it plans to raise up to $2.6 billion.

Big number: The company would have an initial market cap of $28 billion, or an enterprise value of around $32 billion, were it to price shares in the middle of its proposed price range of $44-$50 per share.

Go deeper: Airbnb files for long-awaited IPO

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Everyone's bullish

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Following positive vaccine news and the run-up in global equities punctuated last week by the Dow hitting 30,000 points, investors are again throwing caution to the wind and growing more uniform in their bets that stocks will continue to rise.

Between the lines: The resurgence of traders' risk appetite has some urging caution, as unanimity in either excitement or fear historically has proven to be a contrarian signal for the stock market.

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.

15 hours ago - Technology

Facebook News to launch in U.K. in January

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook said Monday that it plans to launch Facebook News in the U.K. in January, with several big publishers, including Conde Nast, The Economist, Guardian Media Group, Hearst and others, initially providing content.

Why it matters: The creation of Facebook's dedicated News tab has helped the company appease regulator demands globally for more equitable relationships with news publishers.

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