How AI is transforming publishing

After a hundred years of dominance, the publishing industry is fighting to stay relevant and be seen as a trusted source of information in an increasingly digital world. The rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning presents publishers with another challenge - and a big opportunity.

With traditional revenue streams like newspaper subscriptions and advertising declining, could AI offer new ways to engage readers and generate income?

Personalizing the reader experience with AI

In recent years, reader preferences have changed dramatically. Today’s readers want quick access to personalized information that’s tailored to their specific needs and interests. However, many traditional print and online newspapers struggle to meet these expectations with their one-size-fits-all approach. Readers have become accustomed to content being delivered in a style similar to social media feeds, where the latest, most relevant content that meets their preferences is delivered to them through recommendation algorithms. They no longer want to spend time scrolling through news pages to find relevant articles (except for the shrinking previous generation).

One area where AI can help publishers is developing personalized content feeds and advertising systems. These AI-enabled solutions can improve how publishers engage with their audience by:


  • Improving the user experience by delivering personalized content feeds based on their preferences and behavior

  • Boosting user engagement by showing them the most interesting and relevant content

  • Providing tailored and relevant ads that can result in higher potential revenue

For users, AI-tailored content and ad solutions reduce the amount of time searching for interesting articles and result in a more engaging and personalized experience. For publishers, it increases user engagement and loyalty, leads to a better understanding of reader preferences, and increases ad revenue potential.

Some publishers have turned to AI-powered solutions to create tailored feeds and targeted ads. For example, Forbes has implemented an AI-powered search tool called Adelaide, which enables users to search for recent and relevant content in a more conversational manner. And the Norwegian regional daily newspaper, Adresseavisen, has been using AI and machine learning to personalize content and increase user engagement for several years. Its homepage’s content is tailored for every user based on their subscription status, interests, and reading preferences. The company says this has increased the time readers stay on their website, largely thanks to discovering that AI-driven recommendations are particularly effective when placed at the bottom of articles.

Transforming publishing workflows with AI

While AI has successfully demonstrated how it can boost reader engagement, it’s also successfully transforming publishing companies' internal processes and workflows. By helping to streamline content creation and distribution, AI is increasing publishers’ efficiency and driving down operating costs.

One of the most significant benefits of AI is its ability to automate repetitive tasks. At a publishing company, this can free up journalists to focus on more complex and investigative work. For example, Reach developed an AI tool called Gutenbot that enables journalists to quickly and easily rewrite stories that have already been published on other sites within its network. The Associated Press and United Robots are also using AI and machine learning to automate the creation of data-rich articles, including earnings reports and sports results. Using AI in this way allows them to produce many more articles than would otherwise be possible, offering readers more content and creating more opportunities to grow their presence in the market.

Another area where AI creates valuable benefits is streamlining workflows and improving efficiency. At Netcetera, our DocDrive platform uses AI to simplify everyday work for publisher employees. It offers a range of modules that can be used to meet varying needs across the organization, including:

  • Intelligent search that helps find relevant information that’s stored in thousands of company documents quickly
  • A Q&A system that extracts sources from documents and highlights relevant data
  • Document processing capabilities that extract information from documents or articles and convert it to a defined data format for further processing
  • A summarising feature that can quickly create overviews of many different documents or articles

These tools enable publisher employees to focus on high-value tasks rather than spending time on repetitive or administrative tasks, resulting in a huge boost in efficiency.

Of course, there are risks to using any new technology. For publishers, ensuring quality content and maintaining reader trust are crucial. Therefore, the right balance must be struck between AI-generated content and human oversight to preserve journalist integrity. Adresseavisen, for example, has strict guidelines prohibiting its journalists from running unpublished content through third-party AI tools like ChatGPT to protect their data and sources.

Turning AI potential into reality

For publishers, AI has the potential to transform both the reader experience and operational workflows. It can automate repetitive tasks, enable journalists to focus on high-value work, and provide readers with more personalised and relevant content through recommendation engines. As publishers continue to experiment with and adopt AI within their organisations, we’ll see many more innovative solutions in the future.

At Netcetera, we already use our extensive experience in consulting and implementing publishing solutions to support publishers in their digital transformation journey. Our Forward Publishing portal and DocDive platform are two services that offer flexible, cost-effective solutions for distributing content and streamlining workflows using AI.

We’re currently piloting an exciting new solution with two publishing clients that aims to deliver personalized content feeds and tailored advertisements using the latest AI technology, including generative AI and large language models (LLMs). Our client-centric approach allows us to develop solutions that align perfectly with our client’s needs.

To find out how Netcetera could help your organisation transition to an AI-enabled future, contact us to speak with our team.

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