AI Companies and Media: A New Love Story Unfolding?

  • German media conglomerate, Axel Springer, that owns Politico and Business Insider, signs a multiyear licensing deal with AI company, OpenAI, which, according to the former, aims to enhance user experience through the provision of summaries of selected international news content.
  • This isn’t OpenAI’s first agreement with a media Organization, but the Axel Springer transaction is the most comprehensive of its type and will likely serve as a model for future deals.

This deal, reported to be worth tens of millions of Euros, aims to enrich users’ experience with ChatGPT by adding recent and authoritative content on a wide variety of topics in the form of “summaries of selected global news content.” Furthermore, Axel Springer’s stories will be used to train OpenAI’s models.

While this agreement appears to be reminiscent of past tech-media partnerships, its broad scope sets it apart. It highlights a recognition in the AI industry that access to high-quality training data is crucial to the performance of AI tools. The partnership allows OpenAI to train its models using Axel Springer’s comprehensive range of content, potentially improving the models’ ability to generate content in diverse contemporary styles.

However, this partnership raises questions about the sustainability of AI tools as they accelerate declines in public web content, particularly as publishers are becoming more cautious about how their content is made accessible. Additionally, as scraping becomes riskier and training material becomes pricier, the need for reliable access to real-time data and credible sources becomes ever more crucial, particularly for ChatGPT users who may query about current news.

While this agreement between Axel Springer and OpenAI could be seen as an attempt to overcome these challenges, it also points towards underlying issues in the tech-media landscape, particularly concerning the equitable sharing of benefits. This raises questions about whether media companies should negotiate for more substantial returns from such partnerships.