Researched by: Rachel John, Aarthi Ramnath, Niveditha Ajay & Rhea Saincher
EU targets Google’s ad revenue
The context: The company’s massive digital advertising arm has gobbled up most of that market. Starting with its purchase of DoubleClick in 2007, Google has mopped up all the major ad sellers. It now dominates every part of that pipeline and everyone in it: publishers who sell ad space using its tools and companies who advertise their products through its network. And thanks to its search dominance, it owns the critical data that advertisers need to target their audience. Its advertising business accounted for around 80% of its revenue—and it earned $225 billion in ad sales in 2022.
What happened now: The European Union is getting ready to take aim at the heart of the company’s business model. The complaint lays out the case against Google’s monopoly of every aspect of the digital ad business. FYI: the EU has already slapped fines totaling more than €8 billion ($8.6 billion) for various violations on Google. These penalties—which the company is contesting in court—are not large enough to hurt. But this one may be more serious—according to Reuters—which reports that EU regulators may order Google to sell a part of its advertising-technology business. For other Google woes, read our Big Stories on the US antitrust lawsuit and the Indian investigation of its news business. (Bloomberg News, paywall, Ars Technica)
Big moves to protect test cricket
The context: The IPL’s dizzying success has led to a proliferation of new cricket leagues around the world—including South Africa and the Caribbean (explained in this Big Story). It has increasingly become more lucrative to play for a franchise—than for your own country. Example: Jason Roy became the first England cricketer to withdraw from a current national contract last month to play Major League Cricket in the US—which launches next month.
What happened now: The International Cricket Council is getting ready to ratify two new rules. One will limit the number of overseas players per franchise to four. This will seriously impact the newly created leagues the most. The United Arab Emirates league allows nine overseas players per team—while the US league permits nine in each squad and six in each playing XI. The IPL already follows the four-player rule. The other key change: T20 leagues will have to pay national Boards for each player they can sign. (Telegraph UK via The Telegraph India)
A dismal UN report on women
According to the Gender Social Norms Index, nine out of ten people are biased against women across the globe. It gets worse:
It found that half of people in 80 countries believe men make better political leaders, 40% believe men are better business executives and a quarter believe it is justified for men to beat their wives.
To quote one UN official: “My expectation was that we would see some progress, because nine out of every 10, I mean, how can it get any worse?” (The Guardian)
The Golden Globes: Going, going, gone!
The context: In 2021, one of the world’s most famous award ceremonies fell into disgrace almost overnight—with top actors and studios cutting their ties to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA)—the organisation that doles out the awards. The reasons included racism, corruption and an overpaid leadership that abused its clout. (All of it explained in this Big Story). The awards ceremony staged a comeback this year—and was broadcast on NBC but on a one-year contract.
What happened now: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been dissolved and Golden Globes have been sold to Eldridge Industries, a holding company owned by the billionaire investor Todd Boehly, and Dick Clark Productions. The association’s members will now become employees of the new for-profit company. No one knows what this means for the future of the Golden Globes—which may not survive yet more turmoil. (New York Times)
PSG loses its other great star
Yeah, Lionel Messi’s exit was a given—though no one expected him to end up in the US at Inter Miami. But Paris St Germain is now set to lose its other great star—Kylian Mbappé—who will not be renewing his contract next year. This is kinda tricky for PSG—which now has to figure out how to make the best of this unpleasant surprise:
Mbappé’s decision could force P.S.G. to consider a move it would prefer to avoid: selling Mbappé’s playing rights as soon as this summer, rather than risk losing him for nothing when his deal expires. If the club does entertain offers for Mbappé, PSG will be expected to demand a price well in excess of $200 million, and possibly one that might eclipse the world record for a player.
FYI: Mbappe signed a $190 million contract when he joined PSG in 2017. Point to note: Of the all-time greats, the club is now left with only Neymar—which may not be such a bad thing since all that star power did not win it a single cup. (BBC News)
Moving up to legend status: Nikola Jokić. The star of the Denver Nuggets took his team to its first NBA championship win—defeating the Miami Heat 94-89. Yes, he is the MVP. (NPR)
Get ready for a rocky plane ride
A new study shows that flight turbulence has increased due to climate change. Turbulence happens when a plane flies through bodies of air moving at widely different speeds. High carbon emissions have warmed up the air—which is changing air currents—and ergo, more turbulence. Severe turbulence has jumped by 55% since 1979. Why this matters: “Every additional minute spent travelling through turbulence increased the wear and tear on an aircraft, as well as the risk of injuries to passengers and flight attendants.” It costs the aviation industry between $150 million - $500 million each year in the US alone. (The Guardian)
Also experiencing serious turbulence: Air India. Will its PR woes never end? The latest debacle is this Mumbai to Doha flight that has been delayed for ages. It was supposed to take off at 7:30 pm on Monday. Please wait for the, ahem, lady in red. Also: in India, even delayed flights turn into a full-blown soap opera:) (MoneyControl)
Three things to see
One: Everyone is talking about Rahul Gandhi’s ride with this Indian origin driver—who drove him on a 190-km "American Truck Yatra" from Washington DC to New York. Apparently, he is a BJP supporter. Then again this is 100% Congress PR. That said, it’s interesting to see Gandhi take aim at the PM’s most staunch NRI support. (Outlook Magazine)
Two: P!nk got insanely athletic at her Summer Carnival tour in the UK. This is indeed something to see.
Three: Say hello to the ultimate Rubik’s Cube nerd—Max Park—who solved the puzzle in an astonishing 3.13 seconds. Yes, that’s a new world record. Watch the achievement below—but don’t blink. The sheer joy is kinda sweet:)