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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Left-leaning media companies designed to counter the rhetoric coming from the Trump White House and its conservative media machine are growing ahead of the 2020 election.
Why it matters: Partisan political media companies are often launched in response to whichever ideology holds power in Washington. In 2017, new left-leaning voices to counter the narrative from the Trump Administration hadn't yet taken hold. But two years into the Administration, they’re beginning to rise.
Driving the news: ACRONYM, a progressive non-profit led by veteran Democratic consultant Tara McGowan, plans to invest over $1 million into "The Dogwood," a new hyper-local digital news site that caters to residents Virginia, over the next two years, Axios has learned.
Be smart: As websites become marketing vehicles for bigger multi-media projects, progressive podcasts and streaming companies have also begun to take shape.
Yes but: The left-wing resistance wave hasn't drowned out an ever-growing right-wing media machine, especially on social media.
The bottom line: It's taken some time for the Trump resistance media wave to set in, but now that it's here, expect these voices to grow, particularly in local constituencies, ahead of the 2020 election.
The number of events that have sold based on podcasts has increased by over 2000% in the past six years, according to ticket sales data from Vivid Seats, one of the largest independent ticket vendors in North America.
Why it matters: Live events offer podcasts the opportunity to monetize outside of audio ad revenue, which is growing but still pretty small compared to radio ad revenue.
The big picture: Many of the most expensive tickets sell to shows that are personality-driven.
The bottom line: Live events are often very community-driven, and podcasts, due to the more personalized nature of speaking to an audience versus writing to one, have been able develop very strong personal relationships with readers.
"At Vivid Seats, we've seen the enormous growth of fans looking to see their favorite podcast hosts in person. Certainly, huge summer concerts, traditional sporting events and theater shows remain popular, but fans are clearly enjoying more tailored forms of live entertainment that hardly even existed a decade ago."— Michael O'Neil, Head of Public Policy and Community Engagement at Vivid Seats
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
In advance of VidCon later this week, an annual conference for video creators, Facebook is announcing new updates to help content creators on Facebook earn revenue and grow their audience.
The big picture: It's doing so amid increased competition to win over the hearts of creators from other big tech companies, like YouTube and TikTok, as well as platforms that are designed specifically for creative business management, like Patreon.
Why it matters: Investment in creators helps fuel the businesses of major tech platforms that rely on their content to sell ads and keep users engaged.
Our thought bubble: The ability for Patreon to cater to creators' needs across platforms has to-date given the platform a business advantage over individualized platforms. Several smaller companies, like Memberful and Podia, are also trying to compete for cross-platform creator opportunities.
What's next: VidCon, one of the largest global conferences for video creators, kicks off in California on Wednesday. The conference, which was acquired by Viacom in 2017, pulled in over 75,000 fans and attendees last year.
Several Chinese apps are experiencing high download levels in the U.S., according to data from Apptopia.
Why it matters: Many of these apps are leveraging ads on Facebook and other platforms targeted to people in the U.S. to drive app downloads here. This has led to the adoption of major Chinese services in many verticals, from retail to social media.
Driving the news: Shein, a major Chinese retailer, has experienced 2.5 million new installs in the United States alone, per Apptopia — its most ever from the country. This was only about 14.5% of its total app installs around the world.
Other Chinese apps are experiencing record success in the U.S., often using a similar strategy of relying on Facebook and platform advertising to drive app installs.
The big picture: U.S. regulators have sought to curb the dominance of Chinese companies that leverage data in the U.S. by blocking strategic acquisitions of domestic companies by Chinese companies.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Univision, one of the two major Spanish-language broadcasters in the U.S., is in the early stages of exploring a sale, the company announced last week following a Wall Street Journal report.
Be smart: It's a buyer's market, as The Information's Jessica Toonkel points out. And there doesn't seem to be many buyers waving their hands at the last remaining independent broadcasting company, but it's still very early in the process.
Why it matters: It remains unclear what will be the long-term fate of Univision without a strategic buyer. But the Hispanic population is the fastest-growing minority population in the U.S., so one would hope that the market can support at least two Hispanic broadcasting companies.
Meanwhile, Univision's biggest competitor, Telemundo, seems to be reaping the benefits from its 2011 acquisition by NBCUniversal.
Our thought bubble: For Univision, and for all network TV companies, one difficult aspect of its sales pitch will be its renewed focus on live, as cable operators get pickier about carrying expensive channels.
What's next: Univision's next big hurdle will be ensuring that it can strike distribution deals with all of the major cable carriers, so as not to experience similar blackout headaches as it did in 2018.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The White House's Thursday "social media summit," gathering conservative critics of social media platforms, will also highlight how Trump-era politics have split the right on tech issues, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: As with trade, tech is an area where Trump's ascendancy has scrambled traditional power dynamics and policy positions. Free-market thinkers who drove the conservative side of the conversation for years have lost ground to social media personalities who are more open to government intervention against Big Tech — and have the ear of people in power.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
DAZN, an international sports streaming company that's been making inroads in the U.S., is eyeing rights to U.S. NFL games, its CEO told Bloomberg Tuesday.
Why it matters: DAZN has been able to nab streaming rights for major leagues abroad, but so far has limited its influence in the U.S. mostly to pay-per-view type boxing matches. Now, it's looking to challenge the major U.S. sports broadcasters for rights to big-ticket events.