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TL;DR

In a hurry? Here's our pick of the top news items of the week.

  • Google now offers "web" search, an optional setting that filters out things like sponsored posts and Quora advice, as well as an AI opt-out button. (The Verge)

  • StreamSaver, an upcoming bundle that packages Peacock, Netflix and Apple TV+, will soon be available to all Comcast broadband, TV and mobile subscribers. (THR)

  • OpenAI released GPT-4o, a faster, more powerful model that’s free for all ChatGPT users. (The Verge)

  • Netflix will be home to NFL Christmas Day football games for the next three seasons. (Yahoo)

Audiences

  • 77% of global travelers care more about the right travel experience than about the cost of the trip. (American Express)

  • In the US, 56% of new subscribers to streaming platforms chose ad-supported plans over ad-free subscriptions in Q1. (Antenna)

  • US consumers would choose a bundle offered by Netflix or Amazon over other ‘big tech’ companies like Apple or Google. (Advanced TV)

  • 82% of US music subscribers have a video streaming subscription, 69% have a retail subscription to a store like Amazon, 39% have a gaming subscription and 22% have a news subscription. (Digital Music News)

Platforms

  • Netflix announced that its ad-supported plan now has 40M global monthly active users, up from 5M a year ago. (Marketing Dive)

  • Facebook referral traffic to publisher websites has declined by 50% over the past year. (Social Media Today)

  • Instagram launched a live test of expanded Notes options with select users, allowing them to add Notes to Reels. (Social Media Today)

Content

  • Regional content is driving the majority of premium VOD engagement and growth in Asia, with content originating from Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia and Thailand driving 70-75% of engagement, acquisition and hits. (WorldScreen)

  • Olivia Colman and John Lithgow star in the new LGBTQ+ film "Jimpa," launching at Cannes Market from CAA and Protagonist. (Variety)

  • Caitlin Clark's pro debut is the most-watched WNBA game in ESPN history, drawing 2.1M viewers. (NBC)

  • Francis Ford Coppola’s new sci-fi film "Megalopolis" will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival 40 years after its inception. (Variety)

Tech & AI

  • Google's Gemini will let AI help consumers build travel plans using natural language and simple commands. (PhocusWire)

  • A leaked deck shows that OpenAI has been pitching partnership opportunities to news publishers through an initiative called the Preferred Publishers Program. (Adweek)

  • Google released a series of updates across the Gemini family of models, including the new 1.5 Flash, a lightweight model for speed and efficiency, and Project Astra, Google's vision for the future of AI assistants. (Google)

  • X announced that its Grok AI chatbot will now be made available in Europe, after finalizing an agreement with EU regulators. (Social Media Today)

Location-based entertainment

  • Over 250 popular musicians, including Billie Eilish and Dave Matthews, signed a letter urging the Senate Commerce Committee to support a US bill called the Fans First Act that aims to reform the live-event ticketing system. (NBC)

  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill that will increase transparency when purchasing tickets to concerts, games and other events. (MPR)

  • Jamie xx, Alanis Morissette, and Black Pumas headline the Pitchfork Music Festival this July, and there's still time to grab tickets. (Pitchfork)

  • George Clooney will make his Broadway debut in "Good Night, and Good Luck." (CNN)

Travel & hospitality

  • Spend from Australian visitors to California is forecast to hit more than 100% ($1.3B) of pre-pandemic levels in 2024 and 123% in 2025. (Karryon)

  • Ghost kitchens are having a difficult time finding footing and living up to expectations in a non-Covid world. (The Week)

  • Airlines are pushing back against the “junk fees” rule that aims to eliminate fees for luggage and schedule changes, arguing that it will only confuse consumers. (WaPo)

  • New York, Las Vegas and Honolulu are the top destinations among Americans, while Tokyo, London and Paris top the wish list outside of the US. (Empower)

Gaming

  • Honda combined VR gaming with its latest hands-free self-balancing wheelchair to provide an immersive entertainment experience for users. (Thiis)

  • Meta is making its Quest 2 and 3 virtual reality headsets more travel-friendly, releasing a new Travel Mode for both devices. (IGN)

  • Lego Group is expanding its relationship with Epic Games, given its success on platforms like Fortnite. (GamesIndustryBiz)

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