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Tom Coates via Flickr CC

Viacom announced it will increase investment in its flagship brands, which signals its efforts to assure pay TV providers, like Comcast and DirectTV, they can count on business with Viacom, per an earnings call today. The flagships include BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Paramount.

Quick take: This is a strategic bet for the entertainment company. Ad revenues and ratings were both down for the TV side of the company's operations, but Viacom says the diverse audiences of those six networks have ample reach and distribution potential across platforms.

Tapping into film: Viacom will be funneling those networks into its success with film — theatrical revenues grew by 104%. The six brands will contribute one or two movies to build on this strength.

How will this affect viewer experience? This will likely make it more difficult to view shows like "The Daily Show" a day after they aired on services like Hulu, per ReCode. This is because it will be turning more to pay TV providers to rake in the dough.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.