Discover more from Business Side
Daily Briefing for Thursday, April 13th
Good morning! And welcome to Business Side.
In today’s briefing we cover:
Vox Media spinning off NowThis
How local publishers are using AI
NPR quitting Twitter
Plus other developments across the industry
Let’s get to it.
Vox Media spins off NowThis. Vox Media will retain a minority stake and sell ads for NowThis, which it acquired only a year ago. As part of the deal, the media nonprofit Accelerate Change will provide investment and ongoing operational support for NowThis.
It appears that Vox Media wasn’t seeing much synergy between NowThis and the rest of its portfolio. “Consolidation for consolidation’s sake is not something that we at Vox Media have believed in,” CEO Jim Bankoff told the New York Times. With the new structure, Vox Media will continue to have financial upside in NowThis without having to fund all the operational costs.
Accelerate Change, started by CrowdTangle founder Peter Murray, styles itself as a “digital media lab, investor, and incubator.” Puck’s Teddy Schleifer wrote that the organization has been “a favorite of many Silicon Valley donors who want to see more investment in progressive media.” Accelerate Change’s media network includes:
ParentsTogether, covering news affecting kids & families
PushBlack, serving Black Americans
Pulso, publishing stories for Latinos
And “hundreds” of influencers and celebrities
How local publishers are using AI. Media Voices published a report with five case studies — here are the highlights:
McClatchy is using AI to cover real estate transactions across localities.
Norwegian publisher Stavanger Aftenblad is using AI to report on local football games – coaches enter key information into an app, and then AI generates articles. The outlet also uses AI to cover real estate news and annual reports from local businesses.
PA Media is a UK-based newswire that creates localized versions of stories based on national datasets. For example, a story about crime could include statistics that are specific to certain localities – in some cases, there could be 400 versions of the same story.
Swedish publisher NTM Group has automated the creation of traffic stories based on emails from local governments. AI also alerts journalists to stories worth exploring further, such as a home being sold multiple times in a short period.
NRC Media in the Netherlands is using AI to personalize stories that are included in its newsletters.
The report observes that AI is particularly well-equipped to assist in areas where there is a high volume of structured data. This tracks with the efforts of The Boston Globe, which is looking into story automation in real estate, weather, and sports.
It’s worth noting that these examples were possible in some way even before ChatGPT burst onto the scene, but recent advances are now enhancing these use cases.
NPR quits Twitter. Twitter labeled NPR first as “U.S. state-affiliated media,” and then as “government-funded media.” According to an NPR spokesperson, “NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.”
The BBC is also caught in Twitter’s labeling cross-hairs – yesterday, their label changed from “government-funded media” to “publicly funded.” Elon Musk’s view: “We’re trying to be accurate.”
In other Twitter news, Musk said the company is now “roughly breaking even,” with about 1,500 employees.
Digital ad growth slowed last year – it grew 11% in 2022 vs. 35% in 2021.
The New York Times is testing a math game called Digits.
The Washington Post announced a subscriber-only newsletter written by columnist Jennifer Rubin.
Subscription cancellations are outpacing sign-ups, according to one app that helps consumers manage subscriptions.
A Kuwaiti publisher rolled out an AI-generated news presenter.
Universal Music Group is sending take-down notices for AI-generated songs.
HBO Max rebranded as Max and now includes content from Discovery+.
Two YouTube creators launched a beverage brand now available in 4,500 Walmart stores.
A collaborative initiative is aiming to preserve journalism archives of independent Russian news outlets.
Thanks for being a part of Business Side’s private beta. Have a great day!