May 14, 2019

TV networks battle for the future of live

Illustration: Axios/Rebecca Zisser

Despite the onslaught of bad headlines around cord cutting and the death of traditional TV, Madison Avenue hasn't given up on the big cable and broadcast networks just yet.

Driving the news: Despite viewership declines, Variety's Brian Steinberg reports that ad commitments saw an increase of 5.2% to more than $20.7 billion in 2018, citing data from Media Dynamics, a media consultancy.

Yes, but: As Steinberg notes, higher upfront ad commitments for the networks' primetime lineups are a result of higher rates, which networks still have the leverage to demand.

  • The bottom line: Amid an endless number of new on-demand streaming options, TV networks are hoping that ad buyers are willing to cough up big bucks to actually reach viewers in real-time.

The big takeaways so far:

  • NBC: NBC positioned itself as the home for must-see primetime television, touted its renewable of "This is Us" and teased bringing "The Office" to its ad-supported streaming network, which ad chairman Linda Yaccarino said would go live mid-2020.
  • Fox: In its first UpFront since spinning off as standalone company after the Disney merger, Fox is positioning itself as the network that's leaning the most heavily into live sporting events. It's message to Madison Ave: We're smaller, but still mighty.

What's next: Disney will present ESPN and ABC together on Tuesday. WarnerMedia and CBS will present on Wednesday. The CW will present on Thursday.

Go deeper: Upstaging Upfronts, NewFronts rally Madison Avenue

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Acting Navy head apologizes for calling fired captain "stupid"

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly testifies on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly apologized Monday for calling Capt. Brett Crozier, the ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, "too naïve or too stupid" over his letter pleading for help following a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

The big picture: His apology came after President Trump told a news briefing earlier Monday he would "get involved" following a leak of Modly's remarks to the ship's crew on Crozier, who has since been diagnosed with coronavirus, which were obtained by CNN.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,346,299 — Total deaths: 74,679 — Total recoveries: 276,636Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 367,507— Total deaths: 10,908 — Total recoveries: 19,598Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  4. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  5. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  6. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Former Vatican treasurer George Pell's sexual abuse convictions overturned

Cardinal George Pell at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer, has won his appeal and had his child sexual abuse convictions overturned by Australia's High Court.

Why it matters: The cardinal became last year the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to go to trial and be convicted for sex abuse. But the High Court's ruling means he can be immediately released from prison, where he was serving a six-year sentence.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - World