Mar 14, 2018

Report: Netflix planning weekly news magazine show

Photo: Chesnot / Getty Images

Netflix is in the early stages of developing a "sharp, balanced" news show, sources tell MarketWatch. The show would be a weekly news magazine show, similar to the style of CBS's "60 Minutes" or ABC's "20/20."

Why it matters: The tech giant has invested upwards of $8 billion in content to lure viewers from tech and legacy television rivals, but has steered clear of original news so far — with the exception of mostly licensed documentaries.

Technology platforms have traditionally stayed away from news shows, because it can be difficult to compete with the journalistic quality and ethos of networks that are experts in news-gathering and have the infrastructures to support investigative work with a quick turnaround.

  • The state of play: "60 Minutes" turned 50 years old last year. ABC's "20/20" will turn 40 this year.

However, Netflix may be wading into more serious entertainment content, with rumors swirling — first reported by the NYT last week — that the tech giant is in talks with former President Barack Obama about creating a documentary series highlighting uplifting American stories.

Our thought bubble: Traditional broadcast has recently competed more aggressively with cable news, as the 24/7 political news cycle driven by President Trump has gauged consumer interest. News content ahead of the 2018 midterms could be a strong opportunity for Netflix to compete with both broadcast and cable television networks for viewership.

Go deeper

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."