News Corp. CEO Expects “Significant” Revenue From AI Companies That License Content

News Corp. expects to generate big bucks from generative artificial intelligence.

On News Corp.’s fiscal first-quarter earnings call, CEO Robert Thomson said that the company is in “advanced discussions” with companies to license its content for their AI engines.

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“We are in advanced discussions with a range of digital companies that we anticipate will bring significant revenue in return for the use of our unmatched content sets,” Thomson said. “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.”

He also added some thoughts of his own about the technology, with a typical Thomson flourish.

“One observation about generative AI, we often hear about misinformation and disinformation, to the point where the very words have become politicized and polluted,” he said. “The potential for the proselytizing of the perverse will become ever more real with the inevitable, inexorable rise of artificial intelligence. But however artful the artificial intelligence, it is no match for great reporting and for genuine journalistic analysis.”

News Corp. reported revenue of $2.5 billion, an increase of 1 percent from last year. Net income was $58 million, with the HarperCollins book publishing division leading the growth. Thomson added that the company is “assiduously reviewing our structure,” though whether that means layoffs or asset sales remains unclear.

On the call, Thomson also hailed the company’s founder and outgoing chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who will shift to a chairman emeritus role later this month.

“I can personally assure you that there has been no change in his heightened levels of curiosity and energy since the announcement and his vast experience will be an important ongoing resource for the company,” Thomson said. “All of us at News Corp. stand on the shoulders of a giant and I genuinely look forward to Lachlan becoming sole chair next week. His thoughtful engagement with our teams already enhances the business each working day and his passion for principled journalism is obvious to all who worked with him. There is no doubt that Lachlan’s multidisciplinary expertise and his philosophical integrity will be invaluable as we continue the next phase of our crucial journey.”

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