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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.

Environment
  • 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. 
Backgrounder
  • 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.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

5 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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