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Volume 7 No. 92

Media

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority is "examining complaints" about World Cup ads by Bet365, William Hill and Coral that "potentially broke new rules designed to crack down on problem gambling," according to Sweney & Duncan of the London GUARDIAN. The ASA received 115 complaints from viewers about TV gambling ads during the four weeks of the World Cup. This is "four times the number of complaints the watchdog received in the month before the World Cup." The "majority of the complaints" that the ASA received related to the number of gambling ads that appeared. Research earlier this week found that World Cup viewers in the U.K. were "exposed to almost 90 minutes of betting ads during the tournament." Complainants also felt the gambling companies were "irresponsible" for running ads in World Cup games when "large numbers of children could be watching." The ASA is "assessing the complaints" to see if there are "grounds to launch a formal investigation" into whether the gambling companies' tactics are in breach of the U.K. advertising code (GUARDIAN, 7/18).

Two Chinese online streaming sites that paid for the rights to broadcast games from the World Cup on mobile devices "revealed huge viewer numbers," according to Li Tao of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Youku, an online streaming platform that competes with Tencent Video and Baidu-backed iQiyi in China, said that more than 180 million unique users -- or around one-seventh of China's 1.3 billion population -- watched games on its mobile apps during the one-month tournament period. The company added that the final between France and Croatia drew 24 million unique viewers, "double the number registered for the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14." Migu Video, an online video site operated by telecom China Mobile, said that its World Cup match broadcasts "were viewed 4.3 billion times in total during the period," while the final game was viewed 200 million times (SCMP, 7/18).

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: The ECONOMIC TIMES' Guarav Laghate reported in India, where viewership is "benchmarked by cricket," the World Cup "achieved a record high" by attracting 70 million online viewers, "shedding the myth that the sport is popular only in certain pockets." According to Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), 70 million viewers across the country tuned in to watch the World Cup on its digital OTT player, SonyLIV. And while it is "far below" the 202 million viewers that Hotstar claims for the Indian Premier League this year, the World Cup viewership "is a big jump." SPN Head of Digital Business Uday Sodhi said, "It has beaten our expectations" (ECONOMIC TIMES, 7/18).

Eleven Sports added to its portfolio in the U.K. and Ireland with the acquisition of live and exclusive rights to top-flight domestic football from the Eredivisie, the Chinese Super League and Sweden's Allsvenskan. Coverage of the Eredivisie will start with the upcoming '18-19 season, the CSL will air on Eleven Sports from the '19 season and coverage of the Allsvenskan will start with the ongoing season. Eleven reached three-year agreements with each league. All of the programming will be available on Eleven's soon-to-be launched online streaming platform. Eleven Sports is producing the coverage with IMG, which is a minority stakeholder in the channels (Eleven Sports). 

The French Professional Football League (LFP) announced a documentary about Ligue 1, according to L'Equipe. It will be broadcast at the end of July on beIN Sports 1 and Canal+ Sport. The program, “Ligue 1: la nouvelle ère” (Ligue 1: the new era), was created in collaboration with Black Dynamite Production. Several Ligue 1 players are featured in interviews throughout the documentary, including Neymar, Falcao, Adil Rami and Mario Balotelli (L’ÉQUIPE, 7/18).