Time again for the Trippant Takeaways: an explosive BT Sport rebrand, a cliff-diving icon, new worlds of Japanese culture, a strange journey out of the 15-minute city and a bloodthirsty teddy bear are just some of what’s on offer as we round up stories on communications trends across sport, tech, entertainment and culture.
The Athletic on a new identity for BT Sport
After a little over a decade on British screens, BT Sport will disappear this summer to be replaced by TNT Sports.
It’s the result of the channel’s absorption – albeit as part of a joint venture – into the tissue of Warner Bros Discovery media companies and it brings an unfamiliar name into the lives of UK sports fans. Eurosport, a brand of even longer standing, is expected to be folded in some time after the 2024 Olympics.
So why bring an all-new product into the market? The Athletic aims to explain.
The Drum on TikTok’s official growth in Europe
For the first time, TikTok has revealed its active monthly active user base in the EU.
At 150 million, that audience is short of Meta’s Facebook and Instagram but outstrips that of Twitter. The Drum rolls through the numbers.
Bloomberg on Spotify’s vertical refit
Whatever the scale of TikTok’s audience, there can be no doubting the extent of its influence on the modern online experience.
Music streaming powerhouse Spotify is the latest service to be inspired by its user interface, with a vertical-swiping feed reported to be loading.
CNBC and the NYT explore the worlds of Mario and Miyazaki
It’s a special year for Super Mario. Nintendo’s moustachioed plumber will make the leap from video games to the cinema for the first time in 30 years when a new animated movie opens in April.
And he’s taken an advanced trip to Hollywood, with a Super Mario World expansion of Universal Studios marking the latest post-Covid attempt to jump-start the American theme park sector.
Back in Japan, where an initial Mario venue launched back in 2021, the New York Times has been exploring another part of the national cultural imagination: Ghibli Park, Tokyo’s living tribute to the animation titan Hayao Miyazaki.
The Financial Times on the drain of Manchester City’s dominance
Last week, albeit briefly for now, English football champions Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League table in their pursuit of a seventh title in 11 years.
Since a 2008 takeover by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour, City have been extremely professional – if not, allegedly, entirely proper – in their conversion of a sizeable financial advantage into sporting success. But as cross-town rivals Manchester United await a big-money buyout of their own, the Financial Times asks whether all of this has made the on-field spectacle less interesting.
Slate on a 15-minute conspiracy theory
Popularised by the Sorbonne University urban planning expert Carlos Moreno, the 15-minute city is a concept for more walkable, liveable communities that proposes putting more essential amenities within closer distances of people’s homes.
Over the past month, however, it has been transmogrified in some imaginations into a bizarre, sinister plot to compare with disease-spreading 5G towers and microchipped vaccines. To understand why, you need to take a trip along the disinformation super-highway.
The New York Times and Fast Company with strange new AI dispatches
After a landmark investment in OpenAI, Microsoft has integrated the most talked-about chatbot of the moment – ChatGPT – into its Bing search engine. The early results have been, well, weird.
And if you fear that AI stories have reached a saturation point then the good people at science fiction magazine Clarkesworld will no doubt agree. They have had to close freelance submissions after being inundated with pitches from digitally encoded authors…
The New Yorker on a the rise of Peloton superstar
Connected fitness pioneer Peloton has had a bumpy ride since its pandemic-era surge but it has managed to maintain a unique platform for its crew of trainers.
Its personalities are part of a new generation of workout heroes and few have more compelling stories to tell than Robin Arzón.
The Guardian on a distinctive sporting icon
Over the past three decades, the Red Bull media machine has built sporting brands and competitions that are the envy of marketing departments the world over. Yet one of the greatest athletes to emerge from those efforts – serial cliff diving champion Gary Hunt – is a bona fide throwback.
The BBC on Winnie the Pooh’s horror debut
Winnie the Pooh, that beloved ursine creation of AA Milne, entered the public domain last year.
From there, he and his friends from Hundred Acre Wood have walked straight into the unexpected setting of a low-budget slasher flick – Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. It is, by all accounts, a truly abysmal movie, but its existence is interesting in what it says about the future of post-copyright intellectual properties.
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