Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.

Driving the news: Comcast's NBCUniversal said Friday it will shut down its sports cable channel, NBCSN, at the end of the year and move some of its premium programming, including NHL playoff games and NASCAR races, to its USA Network.

  • Reports previously suggested that NBCU was considering nixing some of its other "long-tail" channels, like E! and Oxygen, for leverage in cable bundle negotiations.
  • NBCU is hopeful that beefing up its USA Network offerings can strengthen the network's appeal in cable and satellite negotiations.

The big picture: The pandemic will drive cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever, according to the most recent data from eMarketer.

  • Early estimates suggest roughly 5 million people cancelled their cable subscriptions last year.
  • Last year's lockdowns slowed cord-cutting by forcing people to stay inside, but it will accelerate again as the country opens back up.
  • Streaming has also taken off during the pandemic, which will push more consumers to cut the cord in coming years.
  • One forecast expects that pay-TV subscriptions will shrink by 36% in the next 5 years, compared to 9.5% from 2015-2019.

Be smart: Sports networks are often the most costly channels within a cable bundle. Telecom operators have been under pressure to rebate consumers for the expensive cable packages that lacked live sports during the pandemic.

  • While some networks, like news and variety programming, are struggling to demonstrate value in the cable bundle, sports networks are by far under the most pressure, given much cable operators are required to pay them for live sports rights.
Data: S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

What's next: With many major sports contracts set to expire in the next few years, analysts predict that the ultimate collapse of the cable TV model will happen when a tech or streaming company finally is granted rights to stream a major sports franchise.

  • AT&T's top executive John Stankey has said the telecom giant would consider dropping its exclusive rights to the NFL's Sunday Ticket package from its DirecTV satellite service.

The bottom line: In the interim, expect a flood of cable programming to start migrating over to streaming in anticipation for the day when cable is no longer a viable platform for networks to reach audiences.

  • News networks — NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX News and others — have begun building streaming services tailored to news and opinion programming.
  • Big entertainment giants — like Disney, Discovery, Comcast/NBCU and AT&T — have all set up streaming networks in the past year during the pandemic that mostly combined content from all of their outlets.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Wanted: New media bosses, everywhere

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, HuffPost and Wired are all looking for new editors. Soon, The New York Times will be too.

Why it matters: The new hires will reflect a new generation — one that's addicted to technology, demands accountability and expects diversity to be a priority.

DHS directing $77 million to combat domestic violent extremism in states, cities

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

For the first time, states and localities will spend at least $77 million of Department of Homeland Security grant money on combatting domestic violent extremism, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism has been on the rise in the U.S., spurred on by growing polarization and the mainstreaming of online conspiracy theories. In the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, Mayorkas has made fighting the problem a "National Priority Area."

Senate confirms former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 64-35 on Thursday to confirm former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as secretary of the Department of Energy.

Why it matters: Granholm, only the second woman to head the department, will play a key role in President Biden’s efforts to accelerate the U.S. shift to clean energy and help other countries do the same.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!