Your commercial news round-up: La Liga and metaverse, McDonald’s, inflation, Netflix, Google

updated on 19 May 2022

Reading time: four minutes

What is the metaverse? Who can access it? Does it have anything to do with Doctor Strange? What impact will it have on the commercial world? These are all questions you should be considering as companies and sectors around the world start to reveal their visions for the metaverse.

Read this week’s commercial news round-up for an insight into La Liga’s plans, alongside other significant stories that made the press this week.

  • Spanish football league La Liga will be given exclusive space in Triverse, a new “metaverse of sport”, after securing a two-and-a-half-year sponsorship deal with Korean company TVM. Yoon Chul Kim, vice president of TVM, said: “TVM envisions being a new pioneer, user-driven and with a self-sustaining economy. Our world is planned by the user, for the users, to the users.”

La Liga is keen to continue driving fan engagement by creating this digital environment, with plans for fans to be able to watch official content from its clubs via the metaverse, including press conferences and player interviews, as well as explore cities and play in mini games. The partnership is part of the Spanish league’s digitalisation strategy as it aims to “reach global audiences”.

  • Meanwhile, in other football news, US Soccer has confirmed that its men’s and women’s national team players will receive equal pay, following a legal battle between the federation and the women’s team. The United States Women’s National Team Players Association and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association have set out collective bargaining agreements (CBA) that will stay in place until the end of 2028. For example, a portion of the prize money for World Cup participation will be shared on an equal percentage and players will receive equal appearances fees as part of the CBAs.
  • Following a 30-year operating period in Russia, McDonald’s is set to sell its business in the country in response to the war on Ukraine. The fast-food giant said that it was “no longer tenable” or “consistent with McDonald’s values” to continue business in Russia. It plans to remove its name, logo, branding and menu from its physical restaurants before selling them to a local buyer. The US company said it intends to continue paying its 62,000 local employees until a sale has been agreed and jobs with the new owner have been lined up.
  • UK inflation has jumped to 9% in the 12 months to April, with prices rising at their fastest rate for 40 years. Millions of households have experienced soaring energy prices, with the price of fuel and food also impacting the cost of living. A higher energy price cap came into force in April, which will see homes using a standard amount of gas and electricity paying a yearly average of £1,971. Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice said: "There are desperate stories behind these figures”. Moriarty added: "People washing in their kitchen sinks because they can't afford a hot shower; parents skipping meals to feed their kids; disabled people who can't afford to use vital equipment because of soaring energy bills."
  • Around 150 Netflix staff in the US are facing redundancy, which the streaming platform has blamed on its fall in revenue as it continues to lose subscribers. In a statement, the company said: "These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues.”

In the first three months of 2022, 200,000 subscriptions were cancelled. The war in Ukraine and the decision to raise prices in the US have also contributed to the loss of subscribers, the company said in its earnings report for April. To address the revenue loss, the company plans to address password sharing, cut content and cancel original creations, including animated series Pearl.

  • Google is being sued after allegedly using confidential medical records belonging to 1.6 million people in the UK. Google and DeepMind have been accused of obtaining and using “a substantial number of confidential medical records without patients’ knowledge or consent”. The Royal Free NHS Trust in London provided Google with access to the data belonging to 1.6 million patients to test a smartphone app that had been designed to spot acute kidney injuries. Andrew Prismall, who is bringing the claim, said: "I hope that this case can achieve a fair outcome and closure for the many patients whose confidential records were – without the patients' knowledge – obtained and used by these large tech companies." The Royal Free Trust is not a party to the claim, according to Sky News.

Check the News every Thursday for this weekly commercial news round-up.

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