The big picture

Legacy media is booming

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on the Pay-TV industry, but investors feel optimistic.

Mar 18, 2021 - Economy & Business
Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

The ban has been in place since Nov. 3 and aimed to curb misinformation and confusion following the election.

Mar 3, 2021 - Economy & Business
Ben Shapiro is launching a new show

Shaprio says he will walk viewers through "all of the supporting research" to debunk arguments made by the left.

Feb 24, 2021 - Economy & Business
Streaming price hikes make it less of a cheap cable alternative

YouTube TV and ESPN+ are both raising their monthly charges.

Jul 1, 2020 - Economy & Business
The nerve center of the American news cycle

Wednesday was the number one day in Twitter's history for downloads.

Jun 9, 2020 - Technology
No media publisher is immune in the coronavirus era

COVID-19 has accelerated the shrinkage of journalism.

May 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

All Media stories

Why Diddy is calling out Corporate America

Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A fight between Black-owned media and corporate America is heating up. The latest to jump into the fray: Sean "Diddy" Combs.

Why it matters: It's a new ripple in a decades-long battle to get businesses to diversify how they spend ad dollars, a critical revenue source for media companies to survive.

What they're saying: "We demand that Corporate America reinvest an equitable percentage of what you take from our community back into our community," Combs, who founded digital network Revolt, wrote in a new letter today.

  • "If the Black community represents 15% of your revenue, Black-owned media should receive at least 15% of the advertising spend."

Catch up quick: For weeks, there's been tension brewing between Black media executives and General Motors.

  • A group of Black industry leaders — led by media mogul Byron Allen — called out the automaker as particularly egregious for spending less than 0.5% of its ad budget with Black media. (GM disputes this figure).

Driving the news: The car company last week vowed to raise its share of advertising with Black-owned media to 8% by 2025, amid the growing pressure.

  • Combs name-dropped GM in his letter, after the company listed Revolt as one of the companies it advertises with.
  • GM has agreed to have "a series of meetings with Black-owned media over the next few weeks," a spokesperson says. (That includes Revolt, that company tells Axios.)
  • A previously scheduled meeting with Black media execs was postponed by GM CEO Mary Barra last month, the Detroit Free Press reports — causing more tension.

Where it stands: Combs says less than 1% of ad dollars went to Black-owned media companies in 2019.

  • A Procter & Gamble executive estimated last year that roughly 5% of marketing spend goes to non-white owned businesses.

The big picture: "We're literally making $1 out of half of a penny," Detavio Samuels, Revolt's CEO, tells Axios.

  • "In a world where advertisers only give you 1% of their total budget, or distributors refuse to carry you, you can't get the revenue to make the content your audience deserves," Samuels says.

The backdrop: Allen has long pushed for major companies to spend at least 2% of their marketing budgets with Black-owned media outlets, Axios Media Trends author Sara Fischer notes. Verizon this week became the latest to get on board.

  • The issue of a lack of investment in Black media channels came to a head last summer during the Black Lives Matter protests, as companies pledged to address their role in inequality.
Mike Allen, author of AM
Apr 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

New Netflix series investigates one of the world's most expensive art heists

FBI photo of the crime scene after the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery. Photo via Netflix

Premiering Wednesday on Netflix ... "This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist," a four-part documentary series from director Colin Barnicle taking viewers back 30 years to St. Patrick's Day weekend in 1990.

  • "[L]egendary works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and others worth over half a billion dollars today were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston."
Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Think tank launches climate news outlet powered by former Greentech Media staff

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The clean energy think tank RMI just launched a nonprofit journalism arm called Canary Media that's staffed by well-known names in energy and climate reporting.

The big picture: Canary will be "at the forefront of the clean energy transition" with a mission to cover global efforts to fight climate change, per RMI, formerly the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Apr 1, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver media's internal reckoning with race

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Denver media outlets continue to confront a lack of diversity within their newsrooms, as reporters from marginalized backgrounds increasingly push for change.

Why it matters: Only 23% of newsroom employees identify as people of color, a 2018 analysis from the Pew Research Center found.

Mar 31, 2021 - World

BBC China reporter relocates from Beijing after threats, surveillance

A promotion event for Xinjiang held in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, March 26. Photo: Xinhua/Ding Lei via Getty Images

The BBC's Beijing correspondent John Sudworth has left the city and relocated to Taiwan after nine years, citing threats, surveillance and intimidation of his team in the wake of their reporting on Uyghur forced labor in Xinjiang.

The big picture: The number of foreign correspondents reporting from China has dwindled over the past several years as tensions have ratcheted up between Beijing and the West.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Mar 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Unpacking what Substack's VC funding round means for media

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

"That's the first time I've ever seen someone write their own obituary." That's the text message I woke up to this morning, and it was more than a bit unsettling. First thing I did was look in the mirror to make sure I was in it, then back at the bed to make sure I wasn't there too. Then it hit me: "Oh, this is about Substack."

Driving the news: Last night we reported that the email newsletter platform is raising $65 million at a $650 million post-money valuation led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z).

Mar 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Editors bolt from G/O Media after 2019 sale

The Root's Danielle Belton. Photo: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Since its sale to private equity firm Great Hill Partners in 2019, G/O Media (formerly Gizmodo Media), has lost a slew of top editors from its news and information sites.

Driving the news: Two editors-in-chief have left or announced departures from G/O Media in the past week.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Mar 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Telecoms giants ditch skinny bundles

Data: MoffettNathanson Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

The live TV "skinny bundle" is proving to be a much tougher business to crack than telecom providers and tech giants initially expected.

Driving the news: T-Mobile announced a major deal with Google that will, among other things, see the mobile carrier give up on running its own cable rival "TVision" and instead resell YouTube TV.

Mar 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Streamers chase current events

Expand chart
Data: Parrot Analytics; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Documentaries were the fastest-growing genre on streaming last year, as more news companies leaned into licensing deals with streamers around current events.

Why it matters: Data from Parrot Analytics shows that there’s an appetite for news-adjacent content on-demand.

Mar 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Spotify acquires Betty Labs, creator of live audio app Locker Room

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify announced Tuesday it's buying Betty Labs, an app developer, and a live audio app developed by Betty Labs called Locker Room.

Why it matters: The deal marks Spotify's first foray into social audio. The company said last month that it was looking at ways to make its podcast more interactive between creators and listeners.

More Media stories