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Situational awareness: WndrCo, the media and tech investment group co-founded by veteran Jeffrey Katzenberg, says it’s closed an initial $1 billion funding round for "NewTV,” a mobile-first video streaming service to be led by former HP CEO Meg Whitman and Katzenberg. (Disclosure: WndrCo is an investor in Axios.)
More than half (18) of the 30 most polarizing brands polled by Morning Consult are media companies, meaning Democrats and Republicans are particularly divided over their perception of media brands.
This is not an entirely new concept. A Gallup and Knight Foundation’s 2017 Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy out in June showed similar results.
Why it matters: There is very little commonality between consumers from different ideological beliefs over what type of news, information and even entertainment they like to consume in comparison to the types of places they like to buy food or shop.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
A same poll from Morning Consult finds that there's almost no upside for most brands to discuss President Trump. Regardless of whether the message is positive or negative, it's far more likely to generate backlash for most companies than draw positive reactions.
Why it matters: Brands that stay true to their corporate values in messaging face less reputational risk than those that react directly to being called out by the president or the president's statements.
According to the study, only 30% of people will have a more favorable view of a company if it issues a positive statement about President Trump. At the same time, only 32% will have a more favorable impression if it issues a negative statement.
Bottom line: Regardless of what a company says about the president, an overwhelming majority (70%) Americans will either disapprove or simply won’t care.
The big dilemma for brands is that they are are being pulled in two directions when it comes to political and issue messaging.
The business risk in staying silent on corporate values can be massive. According to Edelman's latest Earned Brand Study.
The solution: Brand experts tell Axios that there's a clear way to navigate the Trump trap — or being pulled into a politically-charged conversation with the president: Focus on long-term corporate values in response to being called out.
"If brands want to play politics, it's a really dangerous place. But if you fundamentally have a calling you can respond with, you’ll see it through."— Mark Renshaw, global chair, Edelman's brand practice
The bottom line: It's never been harder to manage the corporate reputation of a big company, but brands that stick to longstanding corporate values and avoid the day-to-day political fray, should have a better chance at earning trust.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
In less than a week, Spotify, Stitcher, Apple, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest have all taken action to either ban or crack down on InfoWars and its conspiratorial leader Alex Jones. The only platform exception so far has been Twitter, which says Jones has not violated its policies.
Why it matters: The sudden and collective boycott of Alex Jones is a significant tipping point for Big Tech, where values of openness and inclusivity have been tested for years by conspiracy theorists and bad actors.
The big picture: This marks a milestone for organized boycotts on the left, which have included Jones for years on black lists that includes Breitbart News and Rush Limbaugh, per Axios' Mike Allen.
What's next? Jones has mostly been removed from having any major platform on the internet, with the exception of Twitter, his website, other less prominent platforms on the web (Gab, 4chan), and ... his apps.
Infowars launched a new app on July 9th, replacing its old app that was built in 2016. It has been downloaded about 93,000 times already and has logged more than 600,000 hours spent in-app by these users, according to Apptopia estimates.
Look for an outcry from conservative groups arguing that Big Tech is trying to purposefully censor conservative voices. Alex Jones tweets his case:
Already, more than half of Republicans believe it is "very likely" that social media platforms intentionally censor political views that they consider “objectionable,” according to a poll from the Pew Research Center (see chart below).
Why it matters: Surveys show that Americans of all stripes don't always trust the information they receive from both mainstream media and Silicon Valley's online platforms — and this is especially marked among Republicans.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Google’s YouTube, Google and Waze combined to account for 34.2% of all time on digital media in June, according to Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser.
The details: Pivotal found that as Google increases its foothold into America's daily routines, Facebook is seeing declines in time spent at a faster rate than before.
Bottom line: "While many investors continue to look for Instagram to support longer-term growth for Facebook at a corporate level, we note that Instagram remains relatively small, at only 13% of Facebook’s size (measured by time spent on the platform by all of its users)," Wieser writes.
Advertising Week New York is just around the corner (Oct 1–4) and this year, on its 15th anniversary, there will be a heightened focus on the intersection of politics and trust.
"We will dive deeper into the politics and implications of today’s connected environment by covering issues like brand safety and trust and transparency for marketers and for consumers."— Matt Scheckner, founder and CEO, Advertising Week
The entire event will take place under one roof at the AMC Lincoln Square multiplex and all panels will also be live-streamed and on-demand.
Some of the main stage speakers will include:
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Gone are the days of Saturday morning cartoons, Sesame Street and cable shows being seen as the main attractions for kids-focused TV. Now content is strewn across apps, social networks and streaming platforms — and a lot of kids don't even know what a commercial is.
The big dilemma: As more technologies are added to smartphones and smart TVs to help parents keep kids safe — like tracking features and parental restrictions — more and more parents are feeling comfortable with exposing their kids to new media technologies at a younger age.
"Green witches, flying carpets, and singing cats are heading from the stage to the screen, as Hollywood appears to have fallen back in love with movie adaptations of its favorite musicals," Variety reports.
Variety has put together a roundup of some of the current projects moving forward in development from the big stage to the big screen, which includes: