The Associated Press has partnered with Arkadium, a company that uses artificial intelligence to deliver interactive content to publishers, to boost engagement around its professional and college football coverage in addition to college basketball.
Arkadium's InHabit service automatically generates interactive content in the body of the article, using contextual prompts and available data from each sporting league. The technology adds an extra dimension to the sports reporting and has the ability to deliver stats in an new way and keep readers on the page longer.
Jessica Rovello, chief executive of Arkadium, made a timely nod to the changing nature of social media algorithms. She said that publishers should not be held hostage by the likes of Facebook changing up its newsfeed algorithm. “They need to innovate on their own sites to retain users. The new content they develop has to be both highly visual, and interactive—a category we call ‘dynamic editorial’.”
Rovello admitted that the difficulty is building this content at scale, which is where the AI-driven automation comes in. Partnerships with third party data companies fuel the systems. From there, Rovello explains: “It analyzes taxonomy, sentiment, meaning, timeframe and more – all in real-time. The technology then cross references that data with a library of pre-developed editorial units that we call factives.”
These factives, like ad hubs, are pre-written by in-house editorial at the company, and are used to house the relevant data. This team is tasked with producing content that is more visual and interactive, delivering interactive units that traditional journalism teams are unlikely to have the expertise to build. “InHabit’s machine learning capabilities then pick the most relevant factive, populating the template with the most contextually relevant data,” she added. On the future of AI in the newsroom, Rovello said that publishers are just now scratching the surface when it comes to the potential use of AI and machine learning. “The AP has been using AI to help them cover stories while optimising their production. Now, we are helping them incorporate AI in another way – using it to develop interactive and visual storytelling their readers crave.”
Rovello claims that on the AP, these factives boast a click through rate of 10-12%, although some have been known to go as high as 26%.
On signing up to the partnership, Fernando Ferre, AP vice president of business development, said: “The InHabit tool presents a unique opportunity for our members and customers to increase engagement around AP sports content.
“Arkadium’s data-based automated interactive content aligns nicely with the multiformat stories already available through our DNEs.”