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Illustration: Axios Visuals

Despite the continued growth of subscription video services like Netflix and Hulu, free ad-supported video services are making fresh headlines.

Why it matters: Free, ad-supported video gives companies the ad inventory to sell digital TV ads, which are seen as a lucrative opportunity for whichever publisher can really master the technology.

Driving the news: Several video giants announced at NewFront presentations this week that they would be introducing more ad-supported free video options.

  • Walmart's video streaming service Vudu introduced a lineup of free, ad-supported original streaming content at its first-ever NewFront presentation last week.
  • YouTube announced at its "Brandcast" event last week that it's making all of its original content available for free and supported by advertising.

Between the lines: Altice USA, a regional cable provider, announced it was buying over-the-top business news channel Cheddar for $200 million last week. The company's co-president & CFO Charles Stewart tells me the acquisition isn't a streaming play, but an opportunity to bolster its news and ads businesses, since advertising is the company's fastest-growing revenue segment.

By the numbers: Advertisers expect to spend an estimated $18 million on digital video advertising in 2019, with $9.3 million allocated to original content, according to new research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

  • Yes, but: Digital video advertising, while growing quickly, is still a tiny portion of the advertising pie in comparison to television.

Go deeper: Free apps are driving adoption of digital TV ads

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.