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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Local newspapers still heavily rely on obituary placements for revenue, according to new data pulled for Axios from local obituary and advertising placement firm AdPay, which is owned by Ancestry.com.
Why it matters: Obits and public notice ads are among the last consistent revenue streams for local newspapers, my colleague Alison Snyder and I write.
By the numbers: In total, about $500 million in total annual revenue comes from obituaries, according to AdPay. There are more than a million paid obituaries created annually. For context, the newspaper market in the U.S. brings in roughly $25 billion in advertising and subscriptions combined.
Our thought bubble: The financial strain on newspapers, which has forced obituary rates to increase over the past few years, makes it so that it's easier for the rich to be remembered.
Between the lines: Companies like AdPay and obituary placement rival Legacy.com have mostly cornered the market. Legacy claims to publish one in every three obituaries in America.
Be smart: Small markets end up selling packages that are on average as big as medium-sized markets because families are more likely to purchase additional days for the obituary to print, says Dreyfuss-Tuchman.
Yes, but: Like all print media products, digital and social media is making it easier for some families to skip out on obituaries altogether.
The Athletic, a subscription-based digital sports media company, will begin experimenting with putting some of its audio content in front of its paywall in an effort to expand its audience, a source familiar with the plans tells Axios.
What's new: The company will start by offering one episode a week to non-subscribers in front of the paywall and one behind.
Our thought bubble: It's hard to market products with hard paywalls because consumers aren't able to sample the product before committing to buying it. While The Athletic does offer free trials and sign-up discounts, this offering really goes after people who never were open to paying to begin with.
The big picture: The Athletic, which started out as a text-based sports media company, has been growing its podcast and video business over the past year as it aims to hit its goal of 1 million paid subscribers by years end.
Be smart: The Athletic isn't the only subscription-based site to make this transition. The Information said earlier that it may begin to experiment with advertising.
News aggregator usage in the U.S. is steadily on the rise, according to data from Parse.ly given to Axios.
Why it matters: The dominance of a handful of tech companies over the entire news and information landscape is worrying policymakers around the world. A rise in news aggregation apps is making industry leaders hopeful that news traffic will steer away from tech giants like Google and Facebook.
Details: A few trends that can be seen in the data provided by Parse.ly:
Be smart: A pickup on certain news aggregation app platforms can sometimes show up as a big spike for individual sites.
The big picture: Around the world, news aggregation as a business is exploding in places like Europe, Japan, China and India.
What to watch: Some global aggregators, like Toutiao and SmartNews, are beginning to dramatically increase their traffic referral footprints in the U.S., according to Parse.ly.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Over the past two years, the U.S. government has tried to rein in how major tech companies use the personal data they've gathered on their customers. At the same time, government agencies are themselves seeking to harness those troves of data.
Why it matters: Tech platforms use personal information to target ads, whereas the government can use it to prevent and solve crimes, deliver benefits to citizens — or (illegally) target political dissent.
The FBI has particular interest in data from genetic and social media sites, because it could help solve crimes and protect the public.
Be smart: History shows that when governments acquire vast stocks of personal data on their citizens, it's very tempting for them to use that information for political purposes or personal vendettas.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Apollo Global Management, one of the world's largest buyout firms, believes there's more than just a puff left on the local TV cigar, despite widespread conventional wisdom that the value has been snuffed out, Axios' Dan Primack writes.
A source familiar with the situation says Apollo views this all as a "coupon-clipping" consolidation play.
Apollo views local TV as a distinct business from local radio and, certainly, from local newspapers. But it clearly has a thematic affinity for all three.
What's next: An employee Q&A document obtained by Axios earlier this year related to its takeover of Cox says that Apollo is planning "to build a larger media company," starting with Cox Media, that will be headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, where Cox is currently headquartered.
Go deeper: Dan and I discuss this on his Pro Rata podcast ... Listen
Most adults in the U.S. rely on local television more than any other kind of TV news. The trend holds true across all age groups and across most levels of education and household income.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Usually left- or right-wing media grows when it's in the opposition: Rush Limbaugh and Fox News rose during the Clinton years; HuffPost and Daily Kos launched with George W. Bush in the White House.
But major conservative media outlets are growing in the Trump era, broadening coverage and audience.
An analysis of conservative websites by the Columbia Journalism Review found a rise in right-wing web "tabloidism" since President Trump took office.
Screenshot: MTV's YouTube channel
Last night's Video Music Awards continued to elevate the Trump era trend of Hollywood award recipients turning acceptance speeches into political moments.
The big picture: This has become the norm across almost all awards shows over the past two years. The Oscars, in particular, has become more political in the last few years, as the Academy has tried to diversify its talent and presenters.