BuzzFeed Shares Soar as Publisher Plans to Use ChatGPT Creator OpenAI for Content

BuzzFeed Shares Soar as Publisher Plans to Use ChatGPT Creator OpenAI for Content
Buzzfeed employees work at the company’s headquarters in New York, on Jan. 9, 2014. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Andrew Moran
BuzzFeed plans to use ChatGPT Creator OpenAI tools to help produce some of its content, joining the growing list of digital publishers planning to incorporate artificial intelligence into their business operations, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The digital publisher’s shares rose 120 percent, to $2.09 on Jan. 27 after gaining more than 150 percent in trading on Jan. 26 following the news. Year to date, the stock is up 186 percent.

The newspaper reported that the website sent a memo to staff on Jan. 26 to confirm that BuzzFeed will use AI to produce content with the goal of “enhancing the quiz experience, informing our brainstorming, and personalizing our content for our audience.”

“Our industry will expand beyond AI-powered curation (feeds), to AI-powered creation (content),” BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said. “AI opens up a new era of creativity, where creative humans like us play a key role in providing the ideas, cultural currency, inspired prompts, IP, and formats that come to life using the newest technologies.”

The Journal cited one example of what AI could do for BuzzFeed. The technology could create customized romantic-comedy pitches by asking the audience for personal information, which would then create unique ideas with these responses.

The news comes after it was revealed that BuzzFeed would be earning millions of dollars from Facebook parent Meta Platforms to bring more creator content to Facebook and Instagram.
Screens displaying the logos of Microsoft and ChatGPT, a conversational artificial intelligence application software developed by OpenAI. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)
Screens displaying the logos of Microsoft and ChatGPT, a conversational artificial intelligence application software developed by OpenAI. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)
This also comes about a month after BuzzFeed announced plans to cut 180 jobs, representing about 12 percent of its workforce. The company intends to slash most of its positions by the end of the first quarter.

“In order for BuzzFeed to weather an economic downturn that I believe will extend well into 2023, we must adapt, invest in our strategy to serve our audience best, and readjust our cost structure,” Peretti said in a memo to employees.

Since going public in December 2021 following a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), BuzzFeed’s shares had tumbled to less than $1. The firm has been battered and bruised by a combination of factors, including constant revenue misses, declining readership, bearish guidance, and waning enthusiasm over SPACs.

The consensus analyst price target is $3 in 2023.
While BuzzFeed confirmed that it’s dedicated to human-generated journalism, more companies are complementing their content production with AI.

More Businesses Betting on AI

Since its debut in November 2022, ChatGPT has become widely popular among consumers and businesses. However, at the time of this writing, the digital tool was “at capacity” and unable to use. Many industry observers have warned that the AI chatbot could be a significant disruptor, as it has been found to be able to pass medical exams and master of business administration tests at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Companies are betting big on ChatGPT.

Microsoft, for example, recently invested $10 billion in OpenAI as part of a multiyear deal. The tech juggernaut plans to integrate ChatGPT and other AI tools into its suite of products. This would be the third agreement between both sides since 2019.

“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratize AI as a new technology platform,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote in a blog post. “In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchain with Azure to build and run their applications.”

Azure is a cloud computing platform operated by Microsoft.

Many firms are beginning to tap the ChatGPT maker to bolster the intelligence behind customer-service chatbots. One mental health firm is also using ChatGPT to help respond to users.

But that doesn’t mean artificial intelligence isn’t infallible for content creation.

CNET, a digital technology website, started testing an internally designed AI-powered tool to help write explainers pertaining to financial-services subjects. The publisher had to suspend the experiment after the publication found factual errors in its 77 articles.

“Editors generated the outlines for the stories first, then expanded, added to, and edited the AI drafts before publishing,” CNET’s editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo wrote in an editorial. “After one of the AI-assisted stories was cited, rightly, for factual errors, the CNET Money editorial team did a full audit.”
Meanwhile, OpenAI noted in a Discord chat earlier this month that it’s considering various strategies to monetize ChatGPT.

“We’re starting to think about how to monetize ChatGPT (early thinking, nothing official to share yet),“ the company wrote. ”Our goal is to continue improving and maintaining the service, and monetization is one way we’re considering to ensure its long-term viability. We’re interested in chatting with some folks for about 15 minutes to get some early feedback.”

Reports recently surfaced that some users have been given access to “ChatGPT Professional,” a pro-tier subscription model that costs $42 per month. This experimental service offers paid users priority access to new features, faster response time, and more reliable access.
Andrew Moran has been writing about business, economics, and finance for more than a decade. He is the author of "The War on Cash."
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