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The announcement that Google plans to integrate Bard AI into its search and that Microsoft will do the same with ChatGPT in Bing has left publishers looking for answers. If search results are generated by AI, consolidated from an aggregated dataset, what does that mean for the publishers that originated the content that search results are generated from?
As Di5rupt’s Cobus Heyl put it on LinkedIn: “How do you even begin to credit providers and provide links back to original sources when *everything* is a source, and it is all condensed into a few paragraphs?”. Niemanlab’s Joshua Benton, who describes these developments as ‘the most important shift in consumer technology since the iPhone’, echoes the concern for publishers.
He says: “The more questions Google answers without a click, the less traffic those “answering” news sites will get. Less traffic means fewer ad impressions, which means lower revenue.” In short, if search AI starts to generate answers to search queries without referencing its sources, publishing’s search revenue disappears.
Meanwhile, The New York Times has signed a new multi-year “commercial agreement” with Google. The publisher announced on Monday that the companies will “work together on tools for content distribution and subscriptions”. The Times will also use Subscribe with Google and Google Ad Manager. Chief executive Meredith Kopit Levien expects to see the financial benefits of this deal starting in 2023. Wonder if she has the inside track on linkless AI-driven search?
Sad news for staff at DC Thomson yesterday. Employees were told at an all-staff meeting that the company needs to plug a £10 million gap amid moves to “reshape” its portfolio. Rebecca Miskin, chief executive of DC Thomson’s media business, said “significant changes” were being announced including the closure of some well-loved titles. All the best to everyone there, from the Press & Journal to the Beano.
Most of the innovation around creators has focused on consumer media, but Aging Media’s John Yedinak says there’s a ‘massive’ creator-driven opportunity for business media and niche verticals, especially in events. Yedinak points to creators that have built huge niche audiences, but, he says, “We need more entrepreneurs with traditional media experience… and we need others to team up with them to make these new dynamic events happen.”
This week we hear from Andrew Ramsammy, Chief Operating Officer of Word in Black. The publication was founded in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, and brings together 10 of the nation’s leading Black publishers in a news collaborative. He discusses how the collaborative came together, how they’ve tripled revenue since launching, and other areas of opportunity for publishers to come together.