Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The New York Times' hit podcast "The Daily" hit a billion total downloads last week after launching just over 2.5 years ago, says Theo Balcomb, executive producer of The Daily.

Why it matters: The Daily has been a surprise success story in the saturated world of podcasting. The profitable show was credited with being one of the biggest drivers to Q2 digital advertising growth for The Times last quarter.

Details: According to Balcomb, The Daily experiences an increase in listenership when there is major, breaking news.

  • "When Comey was fired, we saw a spike. When Mueller was appointed, we saw a spike," says Balcomb. "What's been amazing for The Daily is that when we see spikes, we maintain them."

Be smart: Politics generally garners the most interest, says Balcomb.

  • "In general, something that feels like a huge political or cultural conversation brings people in. This is particularly true for debate coverage. Users rely on The Daily to explain big news of the day. Instead of watching a 3-hour-long debate, they will tune into a 25-minute recap from The Daily."

By the numbers: On average, The Daily now garners more than 2 million downloads per day, and approaching 10 million monthly uniques, per The Times. The show is also carried on over 150 public radio stations nationwide in the U.S.

Go deeper: Podcast events are making a killing

Go deeper

Trump's new TikTok threat

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said twice Monday that the U.S. Treasury would need to get a portion of the sale price of TikTok, as a condition of regulatory approval.

Why it matters: This is akin to extortion — the sort of thing you'd expect to hear on a wiretap, not from the White House in front of reporters.

Ford names James Farley as new CEO amid ongoing turnaround effort

James Hackett, left, is retiring as Ford CEO. Jim Farley, right, takes over Oct. 1. Photo: Ford

Ford announced Tuesday that James Farley will take over as its next CEO, replacing James Hackett, 65, who is retiring after three years in the job.

Why it matters: It leaves Farley to complete the company's ongoing turnaround effort. The transition will be that much harder as the industry tries to navigate the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown which shuttered Ford plants for two months on the eve of some of its most important vehicle launches.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Watch the full "Axios on HBO" interview with President Trump

In this episode of “Axios on HBO”, President Trump discusses his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming election and much more with National Political Correspondent Jonathan Swan.

The interview was filmed on Tuesday, July 28 and aired Monday, Aug. 3 on HBO.