Roundup: Potential gambling ad ban, TikTok, impact of AI

NRL Adam Reynolds Broncos potential gambling ad ban

Bud Light, Hyundai and Toyota, The Sentinel-Times, SAG-AFTRA, Ryan Seacrest

Business of Media

Government to meet broadcasters, bookmakers over advertising ban

The federal government could meet broadcasters and wagering companies as early as this week to expedite a process that will attempt to crack down on issues associated with the wagering sector, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios and Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described advertising of online gambling during live sport as “reprehensible” after a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday proposed a blanket ban on television ads, sponsorship and promotion.

The sweeping ad ban – worth more than $300 million last year – was one of 31 recommendations made in the parliamentary inquiry, led by Labor MP Peta Murphy. Other recommendations include the appointment of a federal minister dedicated to reducing online gambling harm, the creation of a national regulator and changes to behavioural algorithms in gambling apps.

“What we’ll do is give consideration to the recommendations,” Albanese told ABC Radio in Queensland. “I’ve said before that the idea you’re watching a footy game and … on comes an ad for gambling, I find pretty reprehensible.

“We need to deal with online issues, we need to deal with social media issues, we need to deal with it comprehensively across the board, and that’s what Communications Minister Michelle Rowland wants to respond with. It’s no good doing just one portion of reform that then just opens up and channels it somewhere else.”

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See Also: Bridget Fair: Gambling ad ban would “hurt viewers and the television services they love”
See Also: CRA on potential gambling ad ban: “We question why radio has been singled out”

After Montana banned TikTok, users sued. TikTok is footing their bill.

When five TikTok creators in Montana filed a lawsuit last month, saying the state’s new ban of the app violated their First Amendment rights and far outstripped the government’s legal authority, it appeared to be a grass-roots effort, reports The New York Times’ Sapna Maheshwari.

One relevant fact that the creators and TikTok didn’t mention: The company is financing their case.

For more than a month, the popular video service deflected questions about its involvement in the suit. When the case was filed, TikTok said it was weighing whether to file a separate one — a move the company made several days later.

This week, Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for TikTok, acknowledged that it was paying for the users’ lawsuit after two of them told The New York Times about the company’s involvement.

“Many creators have expressed major concerns both privately and publicly about the potential impact of the Montana law on their livelihoods,” Seth said. “We support our creators in fighting for their constitutional rights.”

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Bud Light was America’s No.1 beer last month – then it took a stand

Confession: I’ve never drunk Bud Light. As an Adelaide native, I was always partial to Coopers Pale Ale. In my Melbourne years, I’ve moved on to Two Birds or my brother-in-law’s excellent home brew, reports Nine Publishing’s Vicki Kyriakakis.

By all accounts, I’m not missing much. It’s reported to be a bland beer that has nonetheless enjoyed years as America’s number one. Until this month, that is, when it finally slipped to second place behind Mexican beer Modelo Especial off the back of a 25 per cent drop in sales.

By now, most will have heard about the woes of brands in America like Bud Light and Target, the latest corporate casualties in the increasingly toxic culture wars. For Bud Light producer Anheuser-Busch, it was a one-off marketing partnership with influencer Dylan Mulvaney, a trans woman with 10.8 million followers on TikTok and 1.8 million followers on Instagram. For Target, it was its long-standing in-store Pride displays that have drawn conservative ire in an era of transphobic moral panic. And the corporate pain shows no signs of abating any time soon.

And it’s not just in polarised America that this is becoming an issue for companies. In Australia, while a majority of ASX top 20 companies have lined up to support the Voice, others have chosen to stay impartial despite some arguing that impartiality is not just morally wrong but a bad business decision. It’s enough to make even the most conscientious brands nervous about sticking their noses into social issues. Some would prefer companies stayed out of the culture wars altogether, which ironically makes staying on the sidelines itself a political decision.

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UK Advertising watchdog bans Hyundai and Toyota electric car ads

The UK advertising watchdog has banned campaigns by Toyota and Hyundai for exaggerating the speed at which electric cars can be charged and misleading consumers about the availability of rapid-charging points across the UK and Ireland, reports The Guardian’s Mark Sweney.

The Japanese car firm Toyota ran a marketing campaign on its website for its bZ4X model with the text “making electric easy”. The site claimed the vehicle could be charged to 80% in about 30 minutes using a 150kW fast-charging system.

Toyota said drivers could “easily find rapid-charging points in a number of public locations”, especially in areas where “drivers were most likely to need them”, such as main travel points on motorways and large arterial roads.

Hyundai ran a similar campaign – using its own website, a digital billboard in London’s Piccadilly Square and a YouTube film featuring footballers from the Premier League club Chelsea, which the South Korean car manufacturer sponsors – promoting its Ioniq 5 model electric car.

The campaign claimed the vehicle could be charged from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes using a 350kW charger.

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News Brands

Big news publishers look to team up to address impact of AI

Several large news and magazine publishers are discussing the formation of a new coalition to address the impact of artificial intelligence on the industry, according to people familiar with the matter, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Alexandra Bruell.

The possibility of such a group has been discussed among executives and lawyers at the New York Times; Wall Street Journal parent News Corp; Vox Media; Condé Nast parent Advance; Politico and Insider owner Axel Springer; and Dotdash Meredith parent IAC, the people said.

A specific agenda hasn’t been decided, and some publishers haven’t yet committed to participating, the people said. It is possible a coalition may not be formed, they said.

While publishers agree that they need to take steps to protect their business from AI’s rise, priorities at different companies often vary, the people said. Such differences could create a hurdle when it comes to setting an agenda in a coalition, they said.

Collaboration among competitive large publishers is rare, and the talks are indicative of the existential threat generative AI technology represents both to the industry and society.

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ChatGPT writes for South Gippsland newspaper Sentinel-Times, MEAA raises ethics concerns

A regional Victorian newspaper editor has defended his decision to publish an article written by artificial intelligence (AI), reports The ABC’s Daniel Miles.

The Sentinel-Times is an award-winning weekly newspaper covering everything and anything that happens in South Gippsland.

Every Tuesday, more than 10,000 subscribers open the Sentinel-Times for its coverage of local news, opinion, sports and community matters.

Earlier this month, the paper had a new byline: ChatGPT.

The AI tool has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent months, with its creator going as far as telling US Congress it was concerned about its ability to interfere with elections.

It has written plays performed in Australia and is even being experimented with by the Home Affairs department.

Sentinel-Times editor Michael Giles also used ChatGPT to write a top-10 list of Australian travel locations for the newspaper’s In Brief section.

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Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, other top actors sign letter to SAG-AFTRA: We’re “Prepared to Strike”

Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jennifer Lawrence and hundreds of other high-profile actors have signed on to a pointed letter telling SAG-AFTRA leadership that they are prepared to strike in order to achieve a “transformative deal,” reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Katie Kilkenny.

In the message sent to union leadership and its negotiating committee, the A-lister coalition — also including Lena Waithe, Laura Linney, Sarah Polley and Quinta Brunson — said that “a strike brings incredible hardships to so many, and no one wants it. But we are prepared to strike if it comes to that.” Calling 2023 an “unprecedented inflection point in our industry,” the group said, “what might be considered good in any other years is simply not enough.” Rolling Stone was the first to report on the letter.

The letter, which made the rounds Tuesday, aired concerns that “SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to make sacrifices that leadership is not.” The group added, “We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade. We need to reverse those trajectories.”

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to SAG-AFTRA for comment.

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Ryan Seacrest to succeed Pat Sajak as host of Wheel of Fortune game show in US

Ryan Seacrest will become the new host of long-running US game show Wheel of Fortune, reports The ABC.

The popular American Idol host will take over from Pat Sajak, who announced his retirement earlier this month after serving in the role for more than four decades, making him the longest-serving host of any US TV game show.

Sajak will host Wheel of Fortune’s upcoming season, the show’s 41st, before Seacrest kicks off a multi-year deal starting with season 42.

Sajak will also reportedly stay on as a consultant for three more seasons after his departure.

“I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak,” Seacrest said in a statement.

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