- Added additional information about the deal
Update from December 19, 2023:
The Financial Times reports that Axel Springer will receive a one-time payment from OpenAI for a dataset of historical content, as well as regular licensing revenue for the use of current Springer content featured in ChatGPT.
According to the FT, the deal is worth “tens of millions of euros” per year. Particularly popular content could generate additional revenue. The deal is not exclusive. Axel Springer could also offer its content to Google for Bard and other chatbots.
Whether it will be attractive for ChatGPT users to receive Springer news remains to be seen. The announcement of the cooperation by OpenAI caused a lot of criticism on social media, as Springer is mainly known for its controversial tabloid “Bild” in Germany.
As described in more detail below, OpenAI may have political interests in the deal, similar to the AP deal: Springer’s journalistic content is likely already included in the training data for GPT-4 and the like, which could lead to copyright disputes.
The payment could silence Springer as a globally relevant media player. In addition, relatively well-written texts are an advantage for AI training. Axel Springer had previously blocked OpenAI’s content crawlers.
Original article from December 13, 2023:
Axel Springer and OpenAI form content partnership for ChatGPT news and AI training
OpenAI will share Axel Springer’s content in ChatGPT and use articles for AI training, in addition to supporting Axel Springer in the further development of its AI projects.
Together, the companies want to find ways to use AI to improve journalistic offerings and create new revenue streams. As part of the partnership, ChatGPT users worldwide will receive summaries of selected global news content from Axel Springer media brands, including paid content from Axel Springer media brands such as Politico, Business Insider, Bild and Welt.
ChatGPT’s responses to user queries will include references and links to the full articles to ensure transparency and further information.
In addition, the collaboration will support existing Axel Springer AI-driven projects that use OpenAI’s technology. In return, OpenAI will be able to use Axel Springer content to train new models. It is not clear from the announcement whether and to what extent OpenAI will pay for this use of content.
The deal could retroactively legitimize the unlicensed use of journalistic content for AI model training, which likely already happened in the case of Axel Springer. Like books, high-quality editorial content is an important part of AI training. At the same time, with ChatGPT, OpenAI can provide users with current news without risking possible copyright infringement. OpenAI has a similar agreement with AP.
Axel Springer drives AI transformation forward
Axel Springer has already announced activities and investments in AI. In June 2023, the company announced its first AI-related layoffs in an internal email. The email spoke of an “AI offensive” to achieve Axel Springer’s goal of publishing “only digitally.”
AI was described as a way to “give journalists more time for research and creativity,” but it would also replace some functions, such as layout for printed newspapers.
In an internal podcast, Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner reportedly said: “If someone wants to kill journalism, then we need to understand how and why, and we journalists should do it ourselves.”
Previously, Axel Springer established a global generative AI team to combine efforts and drive innovation in the field. The team will support Axel Springer and its brands in the use and application of generative AI in their processes and products.