Trippant Takeaways: Actors on Strike, Commonwealth Games Crisis, AI in Entertainment, and More!.

Actors on strike, the Commonwealth Games in crisis, Just Stop Oil’s changing tactics, life at Waffle House and gaming’s dwindling archives are some of the stories featured in the Trippant Takeaways, our weekly round-up of pieces exploring communications trends in sport, tech, media and entertainment.

The Hollywood Reporter, the BBC and Wired on AI and the actors’ strike

The movie machine has well and truly ground to a halt, with Hollywood’s film and TV actors joining its writers on strike.

The 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA went to the picket lines last week, joining the WGA in the first ‘double-strike’ in 63 years. The two groups share similar concerns around dependable long-term income from streaming deals. However, it is their demands for better regulation of how artificial intelligence is deployed to create scripted entertainment that have captured headlines.

Union leaders want to ensure their members are compensated when their work is used to train generative models and when computer-generated replacements based on them are used. But with such a wealth of content to draw upon, could studios and creators unite to build something bigger with AI?

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The Times on the future of the Commonwealth Games

Just three years out from the opening ceremony, the Australian state of Victoria has withdrawn as host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

It is a huge challenge for a movement still grappling with its 21st century identity –

the last edition also shifted from Durban to Birmingham at late notice – and underlines how difficult it has become to sell expensive multi-sport event commitments to cities and governments. 

The Intercept on Saudi sport and influence

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has accelerated its spending on sport in 2023, underwriting a proposed mega-merger in golf and shaking up club football by backing a remarkable transfer spree in the Saudi Pro League.

Several of these investments will lose money, sharpening arguments that they are as much about sportwashing as economic diversification for the controversial Saudi regime. Yet another important factor is how they can position Saudi executives and administrators in overseas networks of influence.

The Athletic on Just Stop Oil’s season of protest

With its bold, divisive and colourful tactics, climate action group Just Stop Oil has left an unmistakable orange mark on the British sporting summer. The Athletic looks at the evolution of its strategy and how sports events came on to its radar. 

The Drum starts pulling at Threads

Early engagement has dropped off on Instagram’s Threads, with some reports suggesting its daily active user count has fallen by half since the sugar rush of a launch week that saw 100 million people sign up.

As Meta begins stabilising and growing its long-term user base, and with more features likely to emerge over time, brands and media companies are now trying to figure out what the platform is for and how to make the most of its potential. 

Rolling Stone on the reality behind Waffle House memes

Open all hours, US fast food chain Waffle House attracts a wildly varied clientele and, at times, some wild behaviour. But the viral popularity of social media videos showing fights in its outlets have obscured how difficult life can really get for the company’s staff.

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The Verge on the crisis in the retro gaming archives

In theory, the digitisation of video game libraries should mean players have access to more titles than ever before. In practice, many older releases are harder than ever to come by.

Archivists believe that up to 90 per cent of games made before 2010 are almost impossible to find, putting huge swathes parts of the sector’s heritage under threat.

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