Ben Young
Ben Young
October 6, 2023

Edition #419

On how AI might be monetized, is Spotify the model? Meta & TikTok on subscriptions and how Icelandair won with programmatic.

You may recall a few months back, there was an analysis from the WashingtonPost, on if your content had ended up in the OpenAI model. I had 120,000 contributions in there!

Now, something like this might end up as the basis for content creator rewards. With AI providing a small royalty if your content ended up informing the result of a query.

For content creators, there could be two tiers of queries.

  1. That references their work specifically. i.e. what does Wirecutter recommend for a vacuum.
  2. Where their work helped inform the model, for a query. This may be a lot lot broader. i.e. Bens post, helped contribute to a wider viewpoint on current analytics trends.

How would this be paid for by the AI platforms? First could be ads in the chat. We just saw Microsoft partner with Snap for chat bot ads. And secondly, premium access.

If you squint, there may be a future, where AI is analogous to Spotify, where there is free ad supported revenue and subscriptions, both of which help reward content creators.

Is it going to be meaningful? Not sure. Will this actually happen? Lets see. But you can see the components are there, to help build a monetization model, using pieces that are already in market.

Digiday covered this week that publishers are concerned about chatbots reducing their traffic, on top of reductions from social networks. I think the best approach is a lets get in early and figure this out, so we can maximize the opportunities.

Which is why, we (or rather I am) running an analytics project for those that want to do that. More info here.

The idea is, that brands, publishers & technology companies would rather find out how AI is referencing their sites, then look to capitalize on any opportunities that open up. I mean, wouldn’t you?

Tangential to this, on where AI is intersecting with media, Spotify announced a limited programme for using AI to convert podcasts into different languages, using the hosts voices. I presume this will extend to the ad reads too.

Where I think this gets interesting is, it may provide audience growth opportunities for many creators, who are already fully tapped out in English speaking or western countries.

Notable stories this week

  • iHeart’s branded studio Ruby finds more brands are hunting for new ways to reach customers.
  • Why Yeti’s pretty wild documentary grant is a genius move.
  • The blogging boom is back and it’s happening on Substack.
  • ChatGPT’s latest update fuels publishers’ concerns about AI chatbots siphoning traffic.
  • Social media traffic to news sites craters. Surprising to see Facebook and X driving similar amounts of referrals.
  • How Formula One’s ‘huge surge’ in the U.S. is capturing the attention of marketers and publishers.
  • Spotify to clone podcasters voices and translate them to other languages.
  • How Icelandair used programmatic to increase bookings.
  • MrBeast does a deal with the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Artifact is becoming Twitter too.
  • Meta plans to charge $14/month for ad-free Instagram or Facebook.
  • ^ Related: TikTok is testing an ad-free monthly subscription.
  • Google Podcasts to close. And Amazon to shut its live audio streaming app Amp.
  • Spotify pushes into audiobooks, offering up to 15 hours/month to users.
  • Apple connects its Podcasts app to publisher subscriptions.
  • Insider Elon Musk’s plans for X: Shopping and Sports.
  • Disney+ to air a real-time Toy Story version of an NFL game.
  • You may recall the F1 also did a kids broadcast.
  • Wall Street Journal debuts a new podcast with investing news for “Joe Sixpack”.
  • Apple reportedly making push for global Formula1 rights.


  • Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker to buy into Front Office Sports.
  • Luma’s Q3 Market Report is out.
  • X partners with Paris Hilton’s media company 11:11.

Campaign of the week

  • Taika Waititi takes a break from filming our Flag Means Death to do a spot for Tourism New Zealand.

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “The best newsletters have a conversational tone. They’re not written in the inverted pyramid style of j-school. Journalism is filled with esoteric conventions created in bygone eras. Readers are not told if the story originated with information supplied from a competitor or a short seller.”Brian Morrissey, The Rebooting

Datapoints of note

  • Taboola expects its 30 year Yahoo deal to boost annual revenue by $1b.
  • Icelandair decreased cost per flight booking 70% over the past year. “This level of efficiency represents a 10x ROI for the brand compared to the benchmark price of applying artificial intelligence ourselves.”
  • Stacker shares what brand stories are getting picked up in the last month.
  • X has 1.5m people/day sign up, 500m posts/day, 100b impressions/day and Gen Z is the fastest growing segment.
  • 41% of audio ads generated positive brand recall compared to 38% for video ads.
  • X has paid $20m out to creators.

That’s it for this week.