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Media group Axel Springer and Microsoft announced a wide-ranging partnership that includes advertising, artificial intelligence (AI), content, and cloud computing, according to the companies.

One focus of the collaboration will be to develop AI offerings and advance Axel Springer's AI activities, building on a comprehensive licensing agreement the media group recently signed with Microsoft partner OpenAI.

The goal is to "pilot new innovative AI-driven chat experiences to better inform and engage their users with Axel Springer's journalistic content". The new chat service will be monetized through advertising using Microsoft Advertising's Chat Ads API.

"In this new era of AI, partnerships are critical to preserving and promoting independent journalism while ensuring a thriving media landscape," said Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that generative AI is transforming "how people search for and consume content online" and that Microsoft wants to "create new opportunity for advertisers and users."

The partnership also covers expanding Axel Springer's content on Microsoft Start-MSN and migrating the media group's SAP solutions to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Axel Springer is moving quickly into generative AI. The company previously announced an extensive deal with OpenAI to integrate Axel Springer content into ChatGPT and use it for AI training.

In addition, Axel Springer will receive a one-time payment from OpenAI for historical content as well as regular licensing revenue for current content loaded into ChatGPT via web scrapers.

In June 2023, Axel Springer said it would cut some jobs as part of an "AI offensive." The company also set up a special global generative AI initiative to focus on product research, partnerships, and developing disruptive AI scenarios.

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Axel Springer's Microsoft partnership reflects a trend where major tech firms like OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are signing deals with select media companies. The agreements typically involve both news distribution and licensing training data for AI systems.

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Summary
  • Axel Springer and Microsoft have announced a broad partnership that includes the joint development of AI-based chat experiences, advertising technologies, content and cloud services.
  • The collaboration will advance Axel Springer's AI activities and enable a new way for people to search for and consume content online. The planned chat offering will be ad-supported through Microsoft's Chat Ads API.
  • The deal with Microsoft is the latest step in Axel Springer's expansion into new AI business models, which began with the partnership with OpenAI to integrate content into ChatGPT and the launch of its global generative AI initiative.
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Online journalist Matthias is the co-founder and publisher of THE DECODER. He believes that artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers.
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