Generative AI was a discussion point when News Corp presented quarterly results, announcing that digital revenue now accounted for more than half of its total revenue.
Chief executive Robert Thomson said the technology – already being used to produce content for its websites – presented a “remarkable opportunity” to create new revenue streams and reduce costs.
News is reported to be using AI to produce 3000 articles a week in Australia for its hyperlocal mastheads on topics such as weather, fuel prices and traffic.
Meanwhile Thomson (pictured) said it was also in negotiations to “establish value” for its content and IP, which he expects will play a crucial role in the future of AI.
Speaking also about ongoing concerns, he said News Corp hoped to “set precedents that benefit creators, publishers and journalists around the globe”.
Thomson said the “tech triptych” had News’ content being “harvested and scraped and otherwise ingested” to train AI engines, with individual stories surfacing in specific searches, and thirdly, original content “can be synthesised and presented as distinct when it is actually an extracting of our editorial essence”.
Ingestion “should not lead to indigestion,” he said, warning that “super snippets, distilling the effort and insight of great journalism”, were potentially designed so the reader will never visit a news site, and thus fatally undermine journalism.
The financial results saw News registering its second highest year of profitability, with a surge in digital revenues and Foxtel’s subscription services growing.
Thomson said a “marked improvement” in the second half supported optimism about coming quarters. Full-year EBITDA was $US1.42 billion, down 15 per cent on the previous year, including the impact of foreign currency fluctuations and higher costs, which increased sports programming costs and rising newsprint costs, as well as the acquisitions of OPIS and Chemical Market.
Fourth quarter total segment EBITDA was US$341 million, up from US$315 million a year ago and “one of the most profitable quarters in the past ten years”.