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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
More money will be spent on advertising this election cycle than any previous midterm cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), which powers the election data website, OpenSecrets.
Why it matters: More competitive races, a more radicalized political environment and a new midterm election with massive ramifications for the next decade due to gerrymandering have pushed campaigns and donors who support them to empty their wallets.
"Money was no object this cycle."— Steve Passwaiter, VP of political advertising at Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad measurement firm
The big spenders: Not surprisingly, the biggest spenders on both sides were the biggest political action committees (PACs), like Priorities USA and House Majority PAC on the left, Congressional Leadership Fund and Senate Leadership Fund on the right, as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee.
The messaging: Republicans and Democrats have each homed in on two major issues in an effort to get voters to the polls.
Between the lines: Despite two years of bad press around election meddling and fake news, Google and Facebook, the world's two biggest automated marketing platforms, continue to rake in millions in political ads, due in large part to their ability efficiently target different groups of voters with different messages.
The bottom line: With more money to spend than some of the biggest corporations on advertising, political campaigns will stop at nothing to get voters to the ballots.
For comparison: Local TV dollars have nearly eclipsed local TV dollars spent in 2016's presidential cycle.
Between the lines: Estimates vary for total ad spend because no group tracks every single medium, but ad spend for individual ad mediums are way up from years past.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Facebook said it removed 115 accounts last night after law enforcement told the company they might be linked to "foreign entities." Twitter said it removed more than 10,000 bots last week for posting messages, disguised as coming from Democrats, that discouraged people from voting in Tuesday's U.S. election.
Be smart: Misinformation is a political weapon that's historically been embraced by anyone looking to bury real information or discredit critics. President Trump has mastered this and has inspired other politicians in the U.S. and leaders around the world to do the same.
The bottom line: Misinformation is our new normal. There's never been more pressure on media companies to fact check what powerful people say, and for tech companies to take action on inauthentic activity in real time.
Go deeper: The Future of Privacy: Disinformation by Sam Lessin
AT&T will alert a little more than a dozen customers within the next week or so that their service will be terminated due to copyright infringement, according to sources familiar with its plans.
Why it matters: It's the first time AT&T has discontinued customer service over piracy allegations since having shaped its own piracy policies last year.
Between the lines: AT&T owns a content network after its purchase of Time Warner earlier this year, an entity now called WarnerMedia. Content networks are typically responsible for issuing these types of allegations to internet service providers (ISPs) for them to address with their customers.
The big picture: This is one of many complicated issues that is now surfacing in light of AT&T's historic $85 billion takeover of Time Warner in June.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Traditional sports leagues are investing in new technologies to lure younger users, many of whom are watching fewer sports live and are spending more time with new digital sports activities, particularly esports.
Why it matters: According to a new Whistle Sports study, more than half (56%) of young adults (roughly ages 13-21) feel that non-traditional sports are more relevant to their generation than traditional ones.
Details: Professional sports leagues are experimenting with new technologies that will make games more approachable and compelling for younger audiences.
The bottom line: "For sports leagues, you've got to figure out a way to be relevant where those eyeballs are," says BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield.
SB Nation, the sports network from Vox Media, is launching 32 new podcasts, one dedicated to each NFL team. It’s also working to create localized podcasts for all teams within big sports markets around the country.
Why it matters: Vox Media is investing heavily in its podcast and television studio businesses to grow its revenue and audiences. The company is slated to triple its podcast revenue this year from 2017, according to Marty Moe, President of Vox Media, Inc.
Details: SB Nation began testing the local push in Philadelphia in September, launching podcasts dedicated to each major Philly sports team.
Between the lines: If successful, SB Nation’s local podcast push could help Vox Media lay a framework for a larger, more localized podcast network that it could use to drive revenue and market other products and services.
The big picture: Vox Media has reportedly struggled to drive revenue amid a digital advertising drought that's plaguing the entire online publishing industry. In September, The Wall Street Journal reported that the media holding group was on pace to miss its revenue target this year by roughly 15%.
Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that he hopes to double the company's "software services" revenue, or money made from apps like the App Store, iTunes, and Apple Pay by 2020.
Why it matters: Apple's iPhone revenue rose by 29% in the most recent quarter, compared to a year previously — even as the total number of iPhones sold was flat. So the company is doing more to suck dollars out of the way users engage with its devices, per Axios' Ina Fried.
The big picture: There's been some talk about whether Apple would consider bundling these services into one standalone subscription, or using a mix of content to sell higher-priced devices.
Between the lines: Apple alluded to investors on its last earnings that it plans to focus on how to gobble up more of consumers' time and attention on its device, akin to how a social media company thinks about its user relationship.
The bottom line: It seems likely that a bundled subscription would be how Apple charges for some sort of combined media product, as advertising generally goes against the company's privacy values and they already have a strong direct-to-consumer payment relationship with Apple Pay.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Delivering faster internet to more people in more places requires increasingly exotic approaches.
Why it matters: That latest viral video might start out in an underwater data center before traveling to a satellite, undersea cable or balloon — then hopping wirelessly to reach your phone.
A few things you may not realize about how communication pipes work around the world, from my colleague Ina Fried and me: