I'm headed to Denmark on special assignment. I can't say too much, but hope it clicks for some of you. Assuming you are not a complete brickhead you will figure it out. In any case, thanks in advance for all my co-workers who will help make sure Login doesn't skip a beat.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Barring a last-minute deal, millions of DirecTV customers will lose access to roughly two dozen Viacom channels like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and VH1 at midnight Friday night because of a distribution dispute between DirecTV's parent company AT&T and Viacom, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
Why it matters: Disputes like this one, driven by a shrinking traditional TV market, are leading to more programming blackouts for consumers, and could be forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.
Driving the news: AT&T and Viacom are struggling to reach a deal over how much AT&T should have to pay for Viacom's channels. Their current deal expires at midnight Friday. Viacom is also charging that AT&T is unfairly favoring the channels it owns.
Details: Viacom argues that AT&T is using its newfound market dominance, which resulted from its multibillion merger with Time Warner last summer, as leverage to drive consumers to the content it owns.
Flashback: Analysts that are bearish on the idea of AT&T dropping Viacom have been pointing to a similar situation from 2012.
The big picture: Critics argue that AT&T's aggressive business behavior since its Time Warner acquisition breaks promises it made during the merger trial to not abuse its market dominance to harm consumers, either directly or by harming competitors.
One fun thing: Part of what’s making this dispute so public is the outpouring of support for Viacom from its TV stars.
The bottom line: Both companies are in a difficult position.
Francesca Carletto-Leon (left) and Carol Mertz, creators of Hellcouch, at GDC 2019. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
One of my favorite parts of this week's Game Developers Conference was a section called "Alt. Control. Delete." where developers had to build games operated using all manner of objects rather than a joystick, mouse or game controller.
Why it matters: As sensors show up in more places, the opportunity for everything to be a computer (or a game console) will only grow.
But for me, the scene stealer was Hellcouch, the brainchild of NYU students Carol Mertz and Francesca Carletto-Leon, which uses a sensor-equipped couch as a controller.
The bottom line: Your butt is the controller.
YIMBY Action CEO Laura Foote. Photo: Chris Constantine for Axios
For Axios' first public event in San Francisco, we decided to take on a modest challenge — the Bay Area's housing crisis. All kidding aside, it's the issue on the minds of everyone who lives here, and all the hand-wringing in the world won't solve the issue.
By the numbers: The statistics are daunting, as noted by David Sobel, CEO of the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation.
What surprised me was the unanimity among the four panelists, who ranged from an economist to the leader of an affordable housing nonprofit — everyone agreed that a change in laws and mindset is needed to enable more construction of all types.
That includes everything from the types of large, subsidized buildings that Sobel builds, to the newfangled co-living projects built by Starcity, a Y Combinator-backed startup.
Laura Foote, head of YIMBY Action, argued that the conflict need not be seen as a competition among affordable housing, luxury apartments and new types of living arrangements. All are desired and badly needed.
So if everyone realizes this, what's the problem? As you might guess from the name of her organization, it is the fact that so many people oppose large housing projects in their own neighborhoods.
The bottom line: Every unit of housing that gets built eases a tiny bit of pressure and has the long-term effect of moderating prices.
The parade of unicorns heading toward Wall Street continues.
Why it matters: Opportunities to go public can close in a hurry. With the window open, many of tech's best known private companies are looking to pass through to the other side and cash in.
There are so many wildflowers blooming in the Southern California town of Lake Elsinore that the city is making people take a $10 shuttle to see the poppies to ease traffic snarls.