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Situational awareness: The next COVID-19 relief package to be considered by the House includes a proposal to make newspapers, radio, and television stations eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
The coronavirus conspiracy news cycle has grown more powerful off of audiences that were already susceptible to misinformation about other health care myths, like anti-vaccination conspiracies.
Driving the news: The latest conspiracy theory — that the virus is a "plandemic" engineered to increase vaccination rates — stems from a documentary-style video featuring a discredited medical researcher that has gone viral.
Flashback: Mentions of “Plandemic” were fairly low in March and early April, and were really only picked up a handful of times in conversations that also referenced other conspiracy theories, like anti-vaccination conspiracies.
Yes, but: The media can make these things appear worse than reality.
As tech platforms race to stop certain theories from spreading, others are already beginning to take hold.
The big picture: The most effective misinformation plays into existing fears, especially around health, safety and well-being. This is in part due to the fact that there's already so much uncertainty about causes and cures for new and existing illnesses.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The appetite for coronavirus stats has grown so big globally that traffic to Worldometer, a statistics website run by a group of international developers, surpassed 1 billion visits in April, in line with major platforms like Reddit and ahead of LinkedIn.
By the numbers: Worldometers.info was the #28 most-trafficked website worldwide this month, according to data and analysis from SimilarWeb.
How it happened: Up until January 2020, worldometers.info relied heavily on organic search to drive traffic to the site, at nearly 80% traffic share.
Be smart: That trend is indicative of significant increases in brand awareness and recognition of this site in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The big picture: The United States made up the largest share of April traffic going to worldometers.info, at 25.8%, followed by India (8.67%), the UK (6.6%), Canada (5.18%), Germany (3.13%), Australia (2.49%), Poland (2.18%), France (1.73%), Turkey (1.66%), and Brazil (1.65%).
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Senate Republicans are moving to swiftly confirm a conservative filmmaker to lead the independent agency in charge of Voice of America (VOA), the state-sponsored international news agency, per The New York Times.
Why it matters: The Trump administration has twice-nominated Michael Pack, but it's been held up in the Senate confirmation processes. Pack has received pushback from some Democrats for his ties to Steve Bannon.
The big picture: Broader concerns about VOA's independence arose after an Obama-era legal provision changed governance over the agency from a board of non-partisan directors to a CEO selected by the president.
By the numbers: The VOA broadcasts in more than 40 languages and reaches an estimated weekly audience of 280 million, mostly international.
Cord-cutting hit a record high last quarter as shuttered businesses began letting go of their cable and satellite bills.
Why it matters: Until now, cord-cutting was mostly a consumer household-focused phenomenon.
Be smart: “Businesses have the same motivations to cut the cord as consumers – content and cost," said David Wiesenfeld, chief strategist at Tru Optik.
By the numbers: Traditional Pay TV subscriptions fell by 1.8 million in Q1, the worst quarterly result on record, according to research firm MoffettNathanson.
TV binging slowly began to decelerate over the past few weeks, as more states have started to implement gradual reopening measures and as the weather begins to warm up.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
TV execs, eager to court advertisers for their fall programming lineups, are turning to virtual "upfront" presentations to court marketers.
Driving the news: NBCUniversal ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino led a virtual presentation with her staff yesterday — usually an elaborate affair at Radio City Music Hall.
What's next: Unlike NBC, Fox announced a tentative fall schedule on Monday, filled with scripted and reality TV series that it can bank on producing, instead of elaborate shows that it may not be able to pull off during the pandemic.
The bottom line: TV advertising, which was expected to be down around .4% this year, including the Olympics and elections, is now expected to be down nearly 13% this year, per ad buying agency MAGNA.
Go deeper: Ad market expected to take a big hit in 2020
The New York Times said during its earnings report on Wednesday that it gained more than a half-million new subscribers — roughly double the amount of net new subscriptions that it typically sees in any given quarter.
Yes, but: There's concern that The Times' subscription success could come at the expense of other publishers, particularly at the regional level.
Why it matters: That conundrum drives home a broader narrative that the pandemic will force bigger media and tech companies to get even bigger, while smaller ones dwindle.
The big picture: Despite the fact that more people are hungry for news, news companies like The Times are still struggling to bring in ad revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
Doja Cat performs in Los Angeles last year. Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Why it matters: It's the latest in a string of songs to find viral success on the app — this time, fueled by a viral dance created by 17-year-old Haley Sharpe — before breaking through to become the most commercially successful song in the country.
The state of play: The song shows how key a choreographed dance can be vital to sustained success on TikTok — and eventually to a wider audience.
The bottom line: The continued success of "Say So" shows how Generation Z can still be a few months ahead of the music industry's best A&R people — as it rapidly evolves to try to adapt to this new viral paradigm.