Jan 24, 2018

Meg Whitman joins media startup as CEO

Meg Whitman. Photo by Andy Cross/Getty Image.

Veteran technology CEO Meg Whitman has accepted a new job, leading a new media company focused on short, scripted videos. Jeffrey Katzenberg, who founded and incubated the startup via his new WndrCo platform, will serve as chairman.

Bottom line: Whitman will launch the company with a pretty clean slate, giving her and Katzenberg the opportunity to learn from other platforms that are transitioning away from unscripted viral social videos to more thoughtful, episodic content.

  • Facebook is changing its algorithm to lower the rankings of short videos and content from publishers and brands. It's instead transitioning premium publishers over to its "Watch" platform, which will run short-form videos around 10-minutes in length as well as longer-form episodes around 30-minutes in length.
  • Whitman and Katzenberg expect their average videos to last between two and ten minutes.
  • YouTube is starting to use real people to vet all videos sold as part of its 'Google Preferred' ad offering, in an attempt to weed out crappy, short-form viral videos that aren't brand-safe. 
  • Whitman's experience in state and national politics could be crucial in ensuring the streaming platform's success. Washington is currently divided on what the distribution landscape should look like for digital video, forcing publishers and platforms to think more strategically about how it manages the regulatory aspects of its business.  
  • Whitman and Katzenberg worked together years ago at The Walt Disney Co., while Whitman later served on the board of Katzenberg-founded DreamWorks. Prior to announcing her pending departure from HP Enterprise, Whitman was in the running to become CEO of Uber.

Note: Jeffrey Katzenberg is an investor in Axios, through WndrCo.

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Boris Johnson admitted to hospital as coronavirus symptoms persist

Photo: Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests as a "precautionary step" as his coronavirus symptoms have continued to persist 10 days after testing positive, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: Johnson was the first major elected leader to test positive for the coronavirus. He was admitted on the same day that Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address to the nation, urging the British people to confront the pandemic with the same "self-discipline" and "resolve" that has defined the country in times of crisis.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,252,265 — Total deaths: 68,413 — Total recoveries: 258,495Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 325,185 — Total deaths: 9.267 — Total recoveries: 16,820Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Queen Elizabeth addresses U.K. amid coronavirus crisis: "We will meet again"

In a rare televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II urged the United Kingdom to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the "self-discipline" and "resolve" that have defined the British people in moments of crisis.

Why it matters: It's just the fifth time that the queen, who traditionally speaks to the nation once a year on Christmas Day, has addressed the British people in this way during her 68-year reign.

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