By Sunny Sen and ChatGPT

Let’s start with a disclaimer: ChatGPT helped me write this article in 1 hour and 15 minutes. It suggested the headline; however, I had to keep prompting it with specific inputs. It also helped me create my paragraphs into bullet points and, of course, helped me in delivering a (hopefully) error-free article. 

Back to the article. 

As we delve into artificial intelligence (AI), the name that dominates every discussion in the newsroom is Generative AI. The question on everyone’s mind is whether this new technological wonder will render journalists obsolete, with the ability to generate and edit articles better than even the most seasoned editors. However, simply viewing AI in such a limited scope would be underestimating its potential. 

In more forward-thinking newsrooms, the discourse has shifted towards exploring how to leverage the power of AI to drive automation, enhance conversions and engagement, and optimise for revenue.

Editor’s Note: WAN-IFRA has published two research reports on automation and AI. In last year’s report, “AI’s Rising Role with Editing and Reader Revenue,” we explored the numerous use cases, surveyed publishers about their AI adoption, and presented a number of case studies. This article serves as a good summary and reminder to the roles of AI in publishing.

With careful consideration and oversight, the benefits of AI can outweigh the risks. Let’s break down into three categories: 

Obsess about interactions; engagement will happen

At the forefront of this cutting-edge trend, AI has the potential to revolutionise the way publishers interact with their audiences. They can harness the power of AI to enhance audience engagement (and drive subscription growth) to unprecedented levels.

Personalisation: Analyse user behaviour and preferences to deliver personalised content and experiences to each individual reader. Publishers can increase engagement and build loyalty by providing content tailored to their interests. This results in enhanced engagement, as readers are more likely to engage with relevant and interesting content.

Recommendation engines: AI-powered recommendation engines can suggest content to readers based on their behaviour and preferences. This can help publishers to promote relevant content and increase engagement.

Real-time insights: AI can provide real-time insights into how readers engage with content, allowing publishers to identify patterns and trends and adjust their content strategy accordingly.

Chatbots: They can provide personalised responses to reader inquiries, improving engagement and customer service.

Content optimisation: Analyse content to identify areas for improvement, such as optimising headlines or selecting images that will better engage readers.

AI can help publishers better understand their audience and deliver content tailored to their interests and preferences, resulting in increased engagement and loyalty.

Manual versus automation: Optimise human skills better

The marriage of AI and automation is a match made in digital heaven. With AI’s cognitive abilities and automation’s mechanical prowess, the potential to optimise business processes is limitless. Here are some examples of how AI can elevate automation to new heights:

Content creation: AI-powered tools can generate summaries and headlines and reduce the time and effort required to produce content.

Translation: AI-powered translation tools can help publishers to translate content into different languages, increasing the reach of their content.

Social media management: AI-powered tools can analyse social media engagement and suggest posts, hashtags, and content formats that increase engagement.

Ad targeting and optimisation: AI can analyse user behaviour and preferences to provide targeted ads and optimise ad placements, increasing revenue.

AI and automation can revolutionise how publishers operate, allowing them to work more efficiently, intelligently, and cost-effectively.

AI-powered subscriptions: Customised offers for every reader

Personalised subscription offers are what AI can help publishers with. Publishers can now analyse user behaviour and interests to create customised subscription offers for every reader.

Dynamic pay walling: This means that the paywall is placed strategically based on the reader’s behaviour, such as the number of articles they have read or the time spent on the website. By analysing the reader’s behaviour and determining the best time to present the paywall, publishers can increase their chances of converting the reader into a paying subscriber.

Content propensity: AI can help publishers determine which content should be behind a paywall and which should be open, based on its propensity to generate subscription revenue, without cannibalising advertising revenue.

User propensity: AI can craft customised subscription offers for individual readers by analysing their behaviour and interests. With personalised offers that cater to their unique needs and preferences, publishers can increase conversions while boosting user engagement and loyalty.

AI is transforming the news and media industry, enabling publishers to gain unprecedented insights into reader behaviour through machine learning and natural language processing. By optimising content and marketing strategies, publishers can increase engagement and revenue. While some worry about potential downsides, such as perpetuating biases, with careful oversight, the benefits of AI are set to revolutionise the industry.

About the author: Sunny Sen is the founder and CEO of, a modern subscription management and analytics platform transforming how publishers manage subscriptions, and understand and engage with their audience.

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