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Expand chart
Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The media consumption wars are heating up.

The big picture: After decades in which media consumption was dominated by domestic TV, we're entering a much more fragmented and international world. Services like Netflix and TikTok (the mobile video clip app that aspires to be the next Netflix) are global in scope and ambition. That sets them apart from forthcoming rival subscription services being planned by Disney, Comcast and AT&T.

  • Artificial intelligence has already proved its value with the success of TikTok, which was released internationally in 2017 by the Chinese AI giant ByteDance and has racked up 950 million downloads. The app curates unique individualized content streams by choosing from millions of 15-second videos uploaded by its users, and the effect is mesmerizing — even more addictive than precursors like Twitter.
  • Some new platforms will blur the lines between social media, video games and professionally produced video entertainment. The video game Fortnite is a form of social media, for instance, while the forthcoming Quibi video platform is likely to include many interactive elements.

Much of the battle between services will be fought over what executives think of as "intellectual property" and everybody else thinks of as "shows."

  • One possible loser: The two most popular shows on Netflix are "Friends" and "The Office." Both are now being pulled from Netflix to anchor new services. "The Office" is going to Comcast's new NBCUniversal platform in 2021 for $500 million, while AT&T's WarnerMedia is paying $425 million to bring "Friends" to HBO Max.
  • One possible winner: Disney owns the most valuable franchises in the world, including not only Mickey Mouse and "Toy Story" but also "Star Wars," "Avatar" and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • What we don’t know: As analyst and REDEF columnist Matthew Ball notes, none of these services wants to be in the business of "selling individual shows to a given TV watcher from time to time." They want to build brand loyalty in their own right, and it's unclear whether having a well-known anchor tenant will get them there.

The shrinking picture: Netflix and Amazon became giants in this space by delivering unlimited video content on demand, uninterrupted by ads, all for much less than even an HBO subscription, let alone a typical cable-TV bundle. On mobile, however, where games and social-media apps are only a tap away, the most popular and addictive content looks very different and often isn't professionally produced at all.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker
9 hours ago - Sports

Novak Djokovic loses Australian visa appeal

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening, facing a three-year visa ban after an appeals court in the country revoked his visa.

Driving the news: Djokovic will not be able to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts in Melbourne. The World No. 1 is looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.

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