Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for “Ad Age” under “Skills” in the Alexa app.
Europe just pushed through another reform to rein in Google, Facebook and Big Tech. European Union lawmakers “have endorsed an overhaul of the bloc’s two-decade old copyright rules, which will force Google and Facebook to pay publishers for use of news snippets and make them filter out protected content,” Reuters reports.
Many European news publishers are delighted; they argue that Google unfairly reaps big advertising revenues from their reporting. Internet freedom activists are angry. And Google, which has lobbied hard against the plan, argues that it will “lead to legal uncertainty and will hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies.” This is another example of Europe trying to hold Big Tech more accountable, along with strict user privacy regulations and $9 billion in anti-trust fines for Google.
Also: With European publishers’ complaints about Google in the news, the tech company is separately getting some good PR over its plan to fund local news sites, starting in the U.S. Read more in the Ad Age Publisher’s Brief from Simon Dumenco.
“A&E Networks is looking to woo brands that don’t typically advertise on TV with a new tool that lowers the cost of entry and offers enhanced digital-style metrics,” Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi writes. A&E, whose networks also include History and Lifetime, will let smaller and mid-size clients target audiences and get reports that are more “akin to those they would get from a Facebook or Google,” Poggi writes. So what kinds of brands are we going to see in this space? Are all those only-on-Instagram brands suddenly going to pop up on TV now?
Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers had the logo of his family’s Big Baller Brand tattooed on his arm. But now that it seems the sportswear brand is in trouble, he covered over the “BBB” brand insignia with a new tattoo of a pair of dice, ESPN reports.
Big Baller Brand has been mocked in the past for its prices ($220 flip-flops!) and for generating customer complaints. Last week ESPN reported turmoil at the brand: It said Ball had severed ties with a family friend who was a partner in the company, citing concerns about $1.5 million that went missing. Now Ball seems to be moving on from Big Baller, where his father LaVar Ball is CEO. On Instagram, the Laker and reality TV star hinted at ambitions of a Nike endorsement deal, posting a picture of himself with the caption, “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it.”
Reckoning: The makers of OxyContin have agreed to pay a “groundbreaking $270 million to Oklahoma to settle allegations they helped create the nation’s deadly opioid crisis with their aggressive marketing of the powerful painkiller,” The Associated Press reports. The company, Purdue Pharma, agreed to the settlement while simultaneously denying any wrongdoing, The AP says.
Finally: “Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications and Dish Network on Tuesday said they have settled their long-running carriage dispute,” The Hollywood Reporter says. It’s been an issue since June.
March Madness: “According to Nielsen data, this year’s NCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Tournament is on pace to be one of the highest-rated college hoops showcases in decades,” Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi writes.
Bricks and mortar: Wayfair, the online furniture and home design store, plans to open its first permanent bricks-and-mortar store this fall in Natick, Massachusetts, Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli reports.
Layoffs: Video game company Electronic Arts is laying off 350 employees, or about 4 percent of its staff, in marketing, publishing and operations. Read more in Variety.
Moving: Lesya Lysyj is leaving Welch’s to be chief marketing officer of Boston Beer Company, the maker of Sam Adams, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz writes. The move marks her return to the beer industry; from 2011 to 2013 she was chief marketing officer at Heineken USA.
Ad of the day: Spike Lee directed a Budweiser ad that honors baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who was born 100 years ago. It’s narrated by Robinson’s daughter, Sharon Robinson, and it ends with a message: “This Bud’s for you, Jackie.” Check it out here, and read more by Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz.
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