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🇫🇷 Good morning from Cannes. Join us for interviews tomorrow. (Details at bottom.)
Situational awareness: BuzzFeed News staffers walked out of U.S. offices yesterday in an effort to push for union recognition, just days after Vox Media staffers unanimously ratified their first union contract. More than 30 media companies have unionized in the past two years.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Dozens of the world's biggest advertising and content companies — including major tech firms, brands, ad agencies and industry groups — announced today their commitment to a new alliance that is being created to take significant steps to improve digital safety.
Why it matters: It’s the biggest and most comprehensive industry effort to date on the brand safety crisis online. Competing groups are putting their differences aside to solve the problem quickly in the face of global threats of regulation.
Details: The immediate focus of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media is to create a working group to prioritize concrete steps to begin creating actions, processes and protocols for protecting people and brands from nefarious content online.
The big picture: Lawmakers worldwide are debating potential regulations for the digital advertising and content industries.
Be smart: While talks of growing regulation make new laws and rules feel inevitable, the advertising and digital content industries have been particularly good at coming together to self-regulate when their industries face existential crisis.
Between the lines: One of the goals of the Alliance would be to create cross-industry brand safety standards that Google, Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies would use when evaluating content online.
Our thought bubble: We've seen several times in recent weeks that different standards across platforms about what type of content is considered safe causes confusion and frustration among lawmakers, brands and consumers.
For the past few years, leaders in the advertising, marketing and media industries have dismissed Cannes as a fancy working vacation for high-level executives.
Driving the news: The event, which was created decades ago to celebrate creativity and innovation, has been overcome by talks about regulation, consolidation and survival. Similar trends persisted at this year's Consumer Electronics Show and SXSW.
Yes, but: Cannes also serves as a half-way point during the year for executives to assess how partnerships and deals are going, many brokered at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
After nearly a year of speculation, Facebook has finally unveiled its plans to create a cryptocurrency, which will be called Libra and debut in 2020, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva writes.
Why it matters: With more than two billion users, Facebook is arguably better positioned to roll out a global digital currency than any other company, government, or organization.
Yes, but: That's also a source of concern over how much influence Facebook will hold over the new currency, given the company's history of amassing power and its record of privacy controversies.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The legacy media business hasn't seen an IPO for a very long time. Instead the big trend is the other way around: public companies being taken private, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.
The big picture: Private equity has a less-than-stellar track record in the industry.
AT&T's DirecTV satellite service and Dish Network's satellite service are reportedly open to merger talks, Bloomberg reports.
Why it matters: While a proposed merger of the two companies years ago was deemed anti-competitive, analysts tell Bloomberg that market conditions today could make regulators more inclined to approve a merger.
Be smart: Industry leaders hoped skinny bundles like Dish's Sling TV and AT&T's DirecTV Now could help satellite companies make up for Pay-TV losses.
What's next: Regulators are currently assessing whether to approve another telecom mega-merger between the country's 3rd and 4th-largest mobile providers, T-Mobile and Sprint.
Illustration: Axios Visuals
News publishers are investing in building "skills," or programmed commands for smart speakers, in order to make their content more accessible to audiences via voice assistants.
Why it matters: Smart speaker adoption is skyrocketing, but news consumption on those devices still lags. Unlike music, weather or traffic updates, publishers have to create custom content that works for audio platforms.
Driving the news: The Atlantic Monday launched the "Daily Idea," a smart speaker skill for Amazon Echo and Google Home that delivers a short summary of a single article in two minutes.
Yes, but: Skill discovery is still very difficult on voice assistants. For that reason, publishers are working to build up their brand recognition so consumers know to ask for specific news publisher content when speaking to their smart devices.
Go deeper: The NYT's plan to make money from voice
Former Snapchat Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan is today launching Verishop, a digital marketplace for luxury goods, with more than 150 contemporary brands across multiple lifestyle categories.
Why it matters: 3 decades into the internet era, there still isn't a major ecommerce destination for department store quality shopping online. This is especially true given Amazon has chosen to focus on basic goods instead of luxury.
Between the lines: Traditional luxury department stores haven't been able to crack the digital marketplace in a meaningful way. Some luxury aggregation retail sites have broken through — like Rue La La, Gilt, The RealReal and Tradesy — but most have focused on consignment or resale of older goods from luxury brands through third-party sellers.
Why it matters: Scale matters less today than it did in the early days of the internet, but news organizations are often still striving for quantity over quality.
Between the lines: Taneth Autumn Evans, head of audience at The Times, recently wrote that the company focuses on "conscious commissioning" of digital stories, following a study that found that readers are more engaged with certain types of reporting on each beat.
The bottom line: "The difference between needs of print and digital readers has encouraged us to think more carefully around our output for the future," Evans writes.
Tomorrow's interview lineup: