Good morning. Today's Media Trends is 1,818 words, a 7-minute read. Sign up here.
This week, top digital media executives will gather at the annual Digital Content Next conference in Miami.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
With just weeks to the Iowa caucuses, social media platforms have finalized their rules governing political speech — and fired a starting pistol for political strategists to find ways to exploit them from now till Election Day.
The big picture: Axios spoke with a half dozen campaign strategists, both Republicans and Democrats, as well as social intelligence experts, about what new rules solidified over the past few weeks from Facebook, Google and Twitter, will mean for the remainder of the political cycle.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Facebook, TikTok and Reddit all updated their policies on misinformation this week, suggesting that tech platforms are feeling increased pressure to stop manipulation attempts ahead of the 2020 elections.
Yes, but: To-date, there have been few instances of true deepfakes going viral to mislead users. Rather, most misleading media that goes viral online take the form of amateur doctored images with deceptive context.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
In the next 12-18 months, States Newsroom, a nonprofit company that supports a group of state capital-based, independent newsrooms, will expand to at least 20 new states, executives tell Axios.
Why it matters: Its efforts are the latest in a string of investment into revitalizing coverage of state capitals across the country.
Details: On Tuesday, States Newsroom, which is backed by non-disclosed donors, will launch its newest local outfit in Minneapolis called the Minnesota Reformer, led by J. Patrick Coolican, who recently left the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
By the numbers: To-date, States Newsroom has opened 14 news operations in states including Virginia, Arizona, Michigan, Maine and Maryland.
Between the lines: Most of the reporters and editors hired to work at States Newsroom outlets are veterans of the local paper from that particular city.
The big picture: There’s a lot of non-profit and philanthropic interest in journalism right now, particularly targeted towards state capitals.
Yes, but: As a non-profit, Fitzsimon says States Newsroom "doesn't accept corporate donations or underwriting, just philanthropic donations." While Axios research has verified that the websites run by States Newsroom are indeed independent, Fitzsimon won't disclose who the company's donors are.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
In a symbolic move, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week signed on to be a co-sponsor to a bill that would allow newspapers to collectively negotiate with tech giants like Google and Facebook.
Why it matters: With the Senate majority leader's support, it's much more likely that the bill will pass in both chambers and be signed into law by the president.
Be smart: The move is part of a larger trend within a Republican-controlled Washington to de-regulate legacy industries like broadcast, radio, newspaper and telecom so that they can better compete with technology companies, instead of adding regulations to technology companies.
Consumer Technology Association
The HBO Max team is looking at ways to make the streaming service more mobile-friendly than some of its subscription video competitors.
Why it matters: If AT&T can build an app that can successfully leans into mobile, it may be able to capture an audience that Netflix and Hulu have intentionally been less focused on, at least to date.
What they're saying: "General entertainment SVOD (subscription video on-demand) writ-large has underinvested in mobile today," EVP & GM of WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer Andy Forssell told Axios on stage at CES.
What it looks like: WarnerMedia CTO Jeremy Legg says that the company is looking to break up the traditional "endless sets of tiles" that consumers have gotten used to on subscription video interfaces with highlight features and other clips.
Our thought bubble: The second-screen opportunity for a lot of HBO content is already huge, just think about how crazy Game of Thrones Twitter can be. But getting users to develop a mobile relationship with a streaming app will be hard when the app has to compete against Instagram and Snapchat, among others.
Disclosure: Axios has a TV show on HBO called "Axios on HBO."
Quibi on Wednesday revealed a new mobile video technique called Turnstyle that allows mobile video consumers to seamlessly switch between vertical or horizontal viewing.
Our thought bubble: The tech is impressive, and one day Quibi's pending patent for it could be worth a lot, but for now, reporters want to know more about how Quibi's business is going to turn "turnstyle" into a financial success.
Quibi CEO Meg Whitman expects Quibi to be profitable in the next few years, she told Axios in an interview.
Yes, but: A new report from The Information shows that in its first year, Quibi is hoping to spend more money ($1.5 billion) that it's raised so far ($1.4 billion), which puts lots of pressure on the service to sign up lots of users quickly.
Over the last decade, transactional video on-demand (TVOD), which are services that sell or rent content on a one-time basis, have largely been challenged by the rise of subscription and advertising-based streaming services that allow users to access hundreds of titles for a monthly or yearly fee.
Yes, but: TVOD's big advantage, and part of the reason it's still been able to nearly double its market size over the past few years, is that those services often are granted shorter theatrical windows than subscription or advertising-based streaming services.
The big picture: TVOD services like FandangoNOW usually see a bump in response to awards season.
A whopping 532 original scripted television series were created last year, according to the latest data from FX Networks Research, up 7% from the year before.
Why it matters: The new data suggests that "Peak TV" hasn't happened yet.
Be smart: The rise of streaming over the past decade can be credited for bloating the TV ecosystem, but it's also complicated it.
Elsewhere in the entertainment world, the global box office hit a record at $42 billion in 2019, despite a slight U.S. decline from last year.
Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have long been subjects of books, movies, and long exposés—and now it's YouTube's turn in Bloomberg journalist Mark Bergen's forthcoming "LIKE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE," Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva writes.
Go deeper: Silicon Valley, get ready for your closeup