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Photo: Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tech companies that don't have storytelling at their core are recruiting their way into the future of television, poaching high-end names from TV networks or household names that they know will lure viewers.

The latest: Netflix announced Monday after months of speculation that Barack and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series for Netflix.

  • Netflix, in the past year, has hired Grey's Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes from ABC, and Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy from FX.
  • Amazon announced Monday that it has hired NBC vet Vernon Sanders as co-head of television at Amazon Studios. He joins top TV exec Jennifer Salke, creator of hits like This Is Us, who was hired in February to run Amazon's in-house film and television studio in April. Amazon also hired “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman from AMC last year.
  • Apple poached Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two executives who oversaw productions such as “Breaking Bad” and “The Crown,” from Sony Pictures Television last year. "We don't know anything about making television. We don’t really know how to create shows. We were cognizant of that," Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue told CNN's Dylan Byers in March.

The big picture: Most big tech companies have the scale to buy content companies, but have shied away from acquisitions of TV networks and have instead opted to invest in either talent or franchises.

People are trying to pull out the parts of the body without having to buy the whole body.
Ross Gerber, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management

Go deeper

Dems race to address, preempt stimulus fraud claims

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Biden officials are working to root out the systematic fraud in unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program claims that plagued the Trump administration’s efforts to boost the economy with coronavirus relief money, Gene Sperling told House committee chairmen privately this week.

Why it matters: President Biden just signed another $1.9 trillion of aid into law, with Sperling tapped to oversee its implementation. And the administration is asking Congress to approve another $2.2 trillion for the first phase of an infrastructure package.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to picking Nick Burns as China ambassador

Nicholas Burns. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat, is in the final stages of vetting to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Across the administration, there's a consensus the U.S. relationship with China will be the most critical — and consequential — of Biden's presidency. From trade to Taiwan, the stakes are high. Burns could be among the first batch of diplomatic nominees announced in the coming weeks.

Biden's Russian sanctions likely to achieve little

President Biden announces new sanctions against Russia. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Despite bold talk from top administration officials, there's little reason to think the Russia sanctions package President Biden announced Thursday will do anything to alter Russian President Vladimir Putin's behavior or calculus.

Why it matters: While it's true some elements of the package — namely, the targeting of Russia's sovereign debt — represent significant punitive measures against Moscow, it leaves plenty of wiggle room for the Russian president.

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