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Consumers are adopting stand-alone broadband services at a much higher rate than just two years ago, and analysts predict that the economic downturn prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak will accelerate the trend, Axios' Kim Hart and I write.
Why it matters: With a recession looming, consumers may look to cut pay-TV service in favor of more robust standalone internet packages once they're free to leave their homes.
While cord-cutting has stabilized during the pandemic, pay TV services are still being replaced by over-the-top streaming apps, which require strong broadband connections.
By the numbers: After holding steady for five years, household adoption of stand-alone internet service rose to 42% in the third quarter of 2019, up from 34% in 2017, according to Parks Associates.
Yes, but: The traditional broadband, phone and pay TV bundle was in trouble even before the pandemic.
The big picture: Over a decade ago, telecom providers started to bundle their services together to increase the average revenue per user. A "double-play" bundle often included internet and pay TV like cable or satellite, while a "triple-play" bundle typically included internet, TV and phone service.
What to watch: Now telecom companies are interested in bundling broadband service with over-the-top video services, but will need to offer a compelling value-add to consumers who are now used to buying services a-la-carte.
Streaming video has shot up dramatically in the U.S. over the past month, as more people turn to their screens for comfort during the nationwide coronavirus, per Nielsen.
Why it matters: The pandemic has changed user behavior to promote more binge-watching, a habit that's likely to stay after the crisis concludes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Major sports broadcasters are leaning into eSports to fill the programming gaps left from leagues canceling professional sports games because of coronavirus.
Be smart: Without live sports, the players themselves are looking to eSports to stay connected to fans.
By the numbers: eSports streamers like Twitch, Mixer, Caffeine, Discord all posted their best revenue-generating month, according to data from Apptopia.
The big picture: At-home gaming through PCs and consoles is also exploding.
Yes, but: Many eSports have been built around live-streaming large in-person events.
What's next: Harron has his doubts that eSports will catch on with the major television network audiences.
New data from Parse.ly shows that demand for shopping-related content online is up far more than any other type of web traffic.
Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created a new reality for media publishers: the need to convert an influx of traffic into consumer dollars instead of ad dollars.
Between the lines: Traffic is up across-the-board for content publishers, but it’s not just COVID-19 content, it’s almost every content category.
What's next: Parse.ly says it's launching a free attribution tool to help media companies convert traffic to other things besides ads, like premium subscriptions, event sign-ups, commerce sales.
Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) digital news platform, had its strongest month ever in March for both revenue and traffic, according to president Warren St. John.
Why it matters: The digital-only local news platform is an anomaly compared other local news publishers which are struggling amid steep advertising losses.
By the numbers: Last month Patch had nearly double its average page views (148 million versus 85 million) across its network of local news sites and 48 million unique visitors compared with 30 million on average.
Details: Patch makes its money by converting casual readers to free "subscribers" and then selling site sponsorships around targeting those hyper-loyal readers. It also makes money selling access to events to hyper-localized calendars.
Yes, but: The company also does sell programmatic advertising, and ad rates were down at the end of March, but St. John feels that the company has been able to use its other revenue sources to mostly cushion against that decline.
The big picture: The company, which just finished its 4th profitable year, is trying to figure out ways to give back during the pandemic.
What's next: St. John says Patch is working on a beta to support local reporters who want to start their own local news publications.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Why it matters: Local newsrooms desperately need the money. Facebook said it received over 200 applications within the first 48 hours of the program being announced.
The big picture: Facebook last week said it would give out an additional $25 million to a "COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund" designed to provide relief grants for U.S. local news organizations, as part of a $100 million commitment to news companies during the crisis.
What's next: Facebook executives tell Axios that applications for the grants of $25k-$100k will open April 13th and will be reviewed by a judging committee.
Quibi, the mobile-only video subscription streaming service, made its highly-anticipated consumer debut Monday, launching its new app globally in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters: Executives say that they are confident in the app's launch at this work-at-home moment, even though the short-form video product was built to be consumed on-the-go.
What they're saying: “I kind of find that with my work day now, I’m looking to take small breaks more than ever before," said Quibi Chief Technology Officer Rob Post in a briefing with reporters last week.
Axios has demoed the app over the past few days. Here are our takeaways:
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have become the stars of America's new reality show, Axios' Neal Rothschild reports based on NewsWhip data.
Driving the news: President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were the only people with more online mentions than Dr. Fauci over the last two weeks.
The bottom line: In these polarized times, few people are trusted across the political spectrum — particularly when they’re standing behind a podium at the White House.
YouTube's product chief tells Axios' Ina Fried that the Google-owned video site has removed thousands of coronavirus videos — including some from the channel of the president of Brazil — for violating policies related to the spread of medical misinformation.
Be smart: Unlike Facebook and other Google properties, YouTube's policies are entirely focused on the content of a video and not who is doing the speaking.
Go deeper: Sign up for Ina's newsletter, Axios Login, to read the full interview out later this morning.
Snapchat launched its first-ever donation tool today to help users donate to coronavirus relief efforts, a spokesperson tells Axios.
Why it matters: It uses augmented reality. Snap users can scan 23 international currency notes across 33 countries using the Snapchat app, triggering an AR visualization of how a potential donation could support the World Health Organization’s response efforts.