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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash ought to be a wake-up call for Silicon Valley.
The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one, Axios' Scott Rosenberg reports.
Background: The tech industry's last real experience of financial adversity was a generation ago, when the dot-com bust leveled the tech sector.
Veterans of the dot-com collapse 20 years ago recall how it played out then.
A coronavirus-triggered recession could affect tech in unexpected ways.
Yes, but: Two days of 3%+ losses in the market don't constitute a downturn, or even, in technical terms, a market "correction" (which is defined as a 10% drop).
The bottom line: This week's precipitous drops remind everyone in tech that graph-lines don't always move up as they move to the right. The alarm might wake the Valley — but the industry could also just hit "snooze."
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
In a move that shocked the media industry, Bob Iger said Tuesday he would step down from his role as CEO of the Walt Disney Company after leading the entertainment giant to unprecedented success during his 15-year run in the job, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: Iger is credited with having led Disney through a series of risky but highly successful acquisitions that not only solidified the company's entertainment dominance, but also ultimately reshaped the entire media landscape.
The big picture: Iger successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses — and led it through the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.
Iger, originally a weatherman turned ABC sports producer, also leaves a lasting sports legacy, having led ESPN through the cord-cutting era.
Be smart: Iger touched nearly every part of Disney over his tenure, and now says he's handing over the reins to an unexpected successor, naming longtime parks and resorts executive Bob Chapek as the next chief executive, effective immediately.
Yes, but: Iger isn't leaving the entertainment giant just yet, staying on as executive chairman through 2021. He said he would use that time to lead Disney's "creative endeavors" while helping Chapek transition into his former role.
The bottom line: The long transition means that Disney isn't planning a major business shakeup anytime soon, as Iger had been clear that he was working on a succession plan for some time and was supposed to retire at the end of 2021.
Big media companies, which already have their own paid video streaming services, are now rushing to add free, ad-supported options, sparking a flurry of M&A activity, Sara reported in this week's Media Trends newsletter.
The big picture: With the streaming wars in full gear, the key players are trying to bulk up, while those in a weaker position are looking to get out while the getting is good.
Driving the news:
Be smart: While Netflix remains the incumbent to beat in the subscription streaming wars, there's not yet a dominant player in the free, ad-supported streaming space, according to previously reported data from Magid Associates.
My thought bubble: I joked on Twitter that I was going to start a streaming service called Fomo, because some big media company would buy it.
Minute Media, a holding group that owns digital sports and entertainment websites like the Players' Tribune and the Big Lead, has raised $40 million in fresh funding, Sara reports. Sources tell Axios that the company is now valued at more than $500 million . It has raised $160 million to date.
Why it matters: Minute Media is hoping to expand its business by selling publishing software as a service, not just by monetizing content.
Details: The round is being led by Dawn Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, with participation from existing investors.
Between the lines: While many media companies are leaning into technology sales as a new revenue stream, Peled says that software services are a focal point of the company's business.
What's next: Minute Media now owns seven digital media publications, including Mental Floss, the Big Lead and the most recently-acquired the Players' Tribune and FanSided. It hopes to grow this portfolio of brands internationally in sports and entertainment.
Photo: Gif (I mean, Jif)
The Gif/Jif debate is one of the most tired and pointless arguments in tech, but the makers of Jif (the peanut butter pronounced the same way as the graphics format, in case you are wondering) have at least found a way to cash in. The company is selling specially marked Gif peanut butter on Amazon.