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OpenAI inks deal with Vox Media for content licensing to train AI models


By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

May 29, 2024 | 5 min read

The partnership arrives as a growing number of media companies and publishers – including The Atlantic, News Corp and Reddit – agree to allow the ChatGPT parent to use their content to train large language models.

Vox Media logo on laptop screen

Vox Media has reached a data licensing agreement with OpenAI / Adobe Stock

In a major deal whose terms have not been disclosed, OpenAI has reached an agreement with Vox Media, owner of publications including New York Magazine, Vulture, The Cut, The Verge and Eater, that will allow the developer to license the media giant’s content to train its large language models, including ChatGPT – which now boasts around 180 million users.

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As part of the arrangement, OpenAI will cite Vox brands in AI-generated responses that rely on information pulled from Vox content. It will also link out to the source content, helping to drive audience traffic back to Vox.

“We’re excited to partner with Vox Media to give our audiences the best experiences at the intersection of AI and media,” said Brad Lightcap, OpenAI’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “Working together, we can drive forward with innovation while amplifying the work of journalists.”

OpenAI has also agreed to “develop innovative products” for Vox Media that will support its readership as well as advertising partnerships, according to an official announcement. The two organizations will work together to build both audience-facing and internal solutions using OpenAI’s technology.

One key application of AI will be across Forte, Vox’s proprietary first-party data platform, launched in 2019. Within the platform, which operates across all Vox properties as well as the company’s ad marketplace, Concert, OpenAI tools will help enhance creative optimization for advertisers and improve audience targeting capabilities.

Additionally, the partnership will help bolster Vox’s affiliate commerce site, The Strategist Gift Scout, by integrating AI capabilities that improve the user experience and help match shoppers with a gift that fits their needs.

Vox’s leadership team expressed enthusiasm about the partnership. Jim Bankoff, Vox Media co-founder, chair and chief executive, said in a statement: “We’re thrilled to partner with OpenAI. This agreement aligns with our goals of leveraging generative AI to innovate for our audiences and customers, protect and grow the value of our work and intellectual property, and boost productivity and discoverability to elevate the talent and creativity of our exceptional journalists and creators.”

The development comes on the same day that OpenAI announced a similar partnership with The Atlantic, according to a report by Axios.

A growing number of media companies and publishers are teaming up with OpenAI and other AI developers to protect their intellectual property rights and ensure their work is credited appropriately in AI-generated responses to user queries. Just this month, both Reddit and News Corp. have inked deals with the Sam Altman-helmed AI firm, giving the developer free rein to process their sites’ data.

These deals arrive in the wake of a handful of controversies around AI developers’ processing of publisher data. The New York Times is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with OpenAI over allegations that the developer used the publication’s copyrighted content without adequate permissions to train its models.

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