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Building a strategic AI innovation plan for your media business

There are many unknowns around the use of generative AI and potential legal and ethical implications. But wait-and-see is not an option.


Every day brings a fresh slew of articles about AI and the media industry; how it’s going to totally change everything, how x, y and z publishers are using it, how we’re all doomed, and variations on those themes. But what I’ve seen few address yet is, on a practical level, what should publishing executives DO about AI?

Doing nothing just isn’t an option. One survey has found that least 70% of workers aren’t disclosing their ChatGPT usage, so if you don’t have plans to at least talk about AI in the business, it’s not going to stop staff using it on the down-low.

For DCN, I spoke to Immediate Media and William Reed, two publishers who have been working hard to create frameworks for experimenting with AI in ways that benefit the business. There’s also some wisdom for media leaders from media consultant Ian Betteridge. The key takeaway: leadership on this issue has to come from the absolute top.


Publishers test new Offerwall monetization tool from Google

Audiences unlock access to content by selecting from a range of options such as purchasing a subscription, viewing a video ad, sharing data, or making a micropayment for short-term access.

Publishers are testing a new monetiaation tool from Google called Offerwall, which lets audiences unlock access to content on their websites by selecting from a range of options such as purchasing a subscription, viewing a video ad, sharing data, or making a micropayment for short-term access. Google is promoting Offerwall as a way for publishers to diversify their revenues and explore “alternative monetization” approaches as questions mount about the viability and sustainability of ad-supported models.

I personally think this is a huge deal that surprisingly few industry people are talking about – the timing could well be right for a tool like this to actually make micro, or single-content payments work for publishers. Do you think there’s potential, or do I need to give up hope for micropayments? Let me know in our community forum.


Vice News’ top editor tells staff he doesn’t know if flagship website will shutter

Editor Josh Visser said he had given senior executives of the company, including CEO Bruce Dixon, an opportunity to deny rumors the site was shuttering but he had not heard back, which he described as “very upsetting.”

Josh Visser told staff a plan he had proposed to restructure the newsroom had essentially been rejected by management and that, even though it is almost March, he still does not have a budget for the year. Whatever may be going on behind the scenes, this is absolutely no way to communicate with staff.


BuzzFeed sells Complex and likely buys time with noteholders

Axios reported that the Complex to NTWRK deal has officially closed in a move that we knew was coming and still likely generates a sigh of relief inside BuzzFeed HQ.

BuzzFeed has sold Complex, the entertainment media brand it acquired for $300 million in 2021, to livestream shopping platform NTWRK for $108.6 million. This broke a little too late for yesterday’s newsletter but if you’ve seen the headline news, this analysis from Jacob Donnelly about the immediate problems BuzzFeed still faces is worth a read.

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What does ‘good’ local news look like?

As part of our recent Futureproofing local news podcast series, we asked a number of experts what they thought good local news should, or could look like.


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