News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson expects significant revenue from licensing its content to companies for their AI models.
The company is in advanced talks with digital companies to use its content for generative AI models, which require constant input to stay relevant, Thomson said on an earnings call. News Corp reported revenue of $2.5 billion, up 1% from last year, with a net income of $58 million.
Generative AI engines are only as sophisticated as their inputs and need constant replenishing to remain relevant. And we are proud to partner with responsible purveyors of AI products and their prescient leaders.
Robert Thomson, News Corp. CEO
How many license agreements can be made?
There are ongoing discussions between AI model providers and publishers, the most high-profile of which involves the New York Times and may end in a lawsuit against OpenAI. The latter has already announced that it has reached an agreement with AP to license some of its data. Conversely, the AP is experimenting with OpenAI technologies, implementing them in the daily work of journalists without using them to generate new articles from scratch.
When OpenAI announced this deal, it seemed like a drop in the bucket to me. More recently, Meta confirmed my skepticism in its response to the U.S. Copyright Office’s inquiry into AI and copyright, saying that licensing costs are too high for the amount of data needed to train large AI models.
Meta compares generative AI to tools like the printing press or the computer, and warns that high licensing fees could stifle AI development. It’s not like generative AI is cheap to begin with, not even counting licensing costs.
Google and OpenAI also defended the transformative use of copyrighted data in training AI models in their responses to the Copyright Office. They argue that such use doesn’t violate copyright law because it’s not storing copyrighted data, but learning patterns from it, and that makes it fair use.