OpenAI inks multi-year content deal with News Corp

OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT, will start using news content from News Corp, the international media conglomerate, as part of a multiyear deal between the two companies.

According to the The Wall Street Journal, the deal could be worth $250 million over five years. Under the agreement, Open AI will be allowed to access current and archived content from New Corp publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Times, the Sunday Times, Barron’s, MarketWatch and others. It will also display content from the mastheads of these publications in response to user questions “to enhance its products”, likely by training its artificial intelligence models. 

News Corp. will also “share journalistic expertise to help ensure the highest journalism standards are present across OpenAI’s offering” as part of the deal, according to the press release.

It’s unclear whether the agreement includes editorial or opinion content as well. Or whether this will be part of ChatGPT’s paid model (GPT 4) or the publicly available free iteration. 

“We believe a historic agreement will set new standards for veracity, for virtue and value in the digital age,” Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, said in a press statement. “We are delighted to have found principled partners in Sam Altman and his trusty, talented team who understand the commercial and social significance of journalists and journalism.”

In recent months, OpenAI has also inked deals with other media companies, including The Associated Press, news publishing giants Axel Springer in Germany, Prisa Media in Spain, France’s Le Monde newspaper, and the Financial Times. The constant need to train its AI systems has also led to deals outside mainstream media with the social media forum Reddit

With AI or against it

For most parts, these licensing deals give ChatGPT access to scrub content for training purposes and generate efficient responses in return. However, in the latest News Corp. deal, the artificial intelligence company can use news content to answer users’ questions.

In a press statement, OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, underscored the transformative nature of the deal, stating that it represents a pivotal moment for both journalism and technology.

“Our partnership with News Corp is a proud moment for journalism and technology. We greatly value News Corp’s history as a leader in reporting breaking news around the world and are excited to enhance our users’ access to its high-quality reporting. Together, we are setting the foundation for a future where AI deeply respects, enhances, and upholds the standards of world-class journalism.”

All large language models (LLMs) “learn” by analysing a massive amount of data often sourced online. With deals like the above, the unresolved issue is usually who owns the data. The New York Times, however is a publisher that is taking a different approach: it is suing OpenAI and Microsoft for “billions” for scrubbing content behind the paywall without its permission to make ChatGPT smarter. Eventually, the tool may be competing with the newspaper as a potential source of news.

It also remains to be seen how the latest licensing deal with News Corp will affect the organisation’s journalists and editors. According to a report in The Guardian, layoffs are expected at News Corp next week.

This story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.


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