Brian Morrissey on How Media Can Survive in the Generative AI Era

It’s still early days for generative AI, but the change it will inevitably impose on content-based industries like news media is massive. Even as newsrooms grapple with the mechanics and ethics of deploying the technology, it’s already having an effect on the bigger industry of “content,” effectively bringing the cost to produce text, audio and video to zero for many. If online media thought the competition was stiff before, things are about to hit a new level.

At the same time, the referral traffic from social networks and Google that media websites have depended on for so long is running out like an air mattress with a slow leak. And that was happening even before the arrival of generative AI, which can do nothing but accelerate the process by providing answers to queries instead of a list of links. After all, why click on a link to a website when the answer is right there?

If all of this sounds scary to you, there’s someone you should talk to, and that person is Brian Morrissey. Brian is the author of The Rebooting newsletter and host of The Rebooting Show podcast, both of which get into the weeds of building and operating media businesses. Brian is also one of the hosts of People vs. Algorithms, a podcast that unpacks the technological forces changing media and culture.

In this week’s Friday Conversation, Brian and I attack the big questions about how generative AI will affect the media business: What happens when generative AI becomes the dominant force in search and SEO traffic to news sites dries up? What does the publisher-audience relationship look like in an AI-mediated world? And how can media companies get ahead of the coming GenAI wave — and maybe even ride it?

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