Forget Succession. Rupert Murdoch’s real media giant has reported falling earnings and a steep decline in profits while managing to sound upbeat about AI. News Corp’s net profits for the year to June were down 75 per cent from the (record) year before, at $187 million. Overall earnings were down 5 per cent, depressed by slack digital and print ad revenues at Murdoch’s British and Australian papers. Income was down 7 and 8 per cent respectively at News UK and News Corp Australia. But News Corp’s global CEO, Robert Thomson, preferred to focus on an improving picture in the second half of the year as inflation and interest rate rises eased, and costs were cut with redundancies across the group. For the first time more than half its earnings came from digital products rather than dead trees, and Thomson said he was in “active negotiations” to extract income from AI platforms in return for letting them scrape his content. News Corp Australia is already using generative AI to publish 3,000 local news stories a week. The trend to rely less on humans and more on bots and bytes looks inexorable.
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