Media Insider: Twitter ad revenue down 50%, AP collaborates with OpenAI, Vox drops CMS

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

Musk reveals Twitter ad revenue is down 50% as social media competition mounts
CBS News | Elizabeth Napolitano

Twitter owner Elon Musk said the social media company’s advertising revenue has plunged roughly 50%, highlighting his struggle to revive the ailing company after buying it for $44 billion. The stark admission came in response to a comment by another Twitter user who suggested the billionaire form a consortium to buy the platform’s debt. “Need to reach positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else,” Musk replied. Twitter’s ad-portal traffic plunged 20.6% in June 2023 from the year before, according to data from Similarweb, which analyzes advertising portals as “an indicator of business momentum.” Overall traffic on the platform has declined steadily since January, falling 5.8% as of June. Engagement on Twitter’s app also fell during that same period, from roughly 88 million users to 83 million, or 5.5%. Musk, who purchased Twitter in 2022, said in March that he believed the platform would break even or perhaps even see a positive cash flow by June of this year.

More bad news for Musk: Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management has written down its stake in Twitter by 47%.

Associated Press and OpenAI Collaborate on Generative AI
MediaPost | Ray Schultz

The Associated Press and Open AI are collaborating to share access to news content and examine potential use cases for generative AI. Under the arrangement, OpenAI will license part of AP’s text archive, while AP will make use of OpenAI’s technology and product expertise. The arrangement builds upon AP’s efforts to use automation to make its journalism more effective and to help local news outlets integrate technology into their operations. AP does not use generative AI in its news stories, but it began automating corporate earnings reports in 2014 and later added automated stories, previewing, and recapping some sporting events. AP also uses AI technology to help in the transcription of audio and video from live events like press conferences. In May, AP added an AI-enabled search capability on its multiformat content delivery platform, AP Newsroom.

OpenAI also announced a partnership with American Journalism Project to support local news through AI.

Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong Holds Talks to Sell LA Times to Entertainment Trade Mogul Jay Penske
The Intersect | Joe Bel Bruno

LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and entertainment trade publishing magnate Jay Penske are discussing a deal to transfer ownership of the West’s largest newspaper, according to two people directly briefed on talks. The people, who are inside both publishers’ direct circles and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said the owners have held talks about a deal where The Times is folded into Penske’s PMC Media empire, which includes Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Variety. It would allow Soon-Shiong — who last week unloaded ownership of The San Diego Union-Tribune to venture capital firm Alden Capital — a way out of a legacy news organization bleeding cash. Any deal, which is not guaranteed as these are described as early talks, would transform Penske into an L.A. publishing mogul not seen since the Chandler family had a stranglehold on Southern California media via The Times.

For his part, Soon-Shiong has denied the report.

Vox Media drops its own CMS
Axios | Sara Fischer, Kerry Flynn

Vox Media, the parent company to websites such as New York Magazine, Eater, and SB Nation, will no longer use Chorus — its proprietary content management system — to power its own websites. CMS licensing was once seen as a lucrative opportunity for publishers looking to grow revenue beyond ad dollars, but WordPress’ continued dominance in the space has made it harder to compete. Vox Media began licensing its proprietary CMS to other publishers in 2018. It stopped licensing Chorus to external publishers last year, but continued to use it to power its own network of over a dozen digital media sites. The company still owns other tech products, including Concert, its advertising platform, and Coral, the commenting platform it acquired in 2019. But moving forward, monetizing its own audience engagement will become a bigger focus. The company will move its websites into WordPress VIP.

Also from Axios: Tucker Carlson has landed his first major ad deal.

CNN overtakes New York Times as biggest news website in the US
Press Gazette | Aisha Majid

CNN overtook the New York Times to become the biggest news website in the US in June, according to Press Gazette’s latest monthly top 50 ranking. Historically, CNN had been above the New York Times, but the newspaper brand overtook the broadcaster in February 2022 after it bought Wordle. Visits to the CNN website were up 5% year-on-year to 458 million in June, according to data from digital intelligence platform Similarweb. Meanwhile, visits to the New York Times website were down 9% to 423.2 million, pushing the newspaper brand into second position. In recent months, CNN has been closing the gap on the New York Times as web traffic to has consistently fallen compared to 2022.

ICYMI: The Athletic launched a new podcast, “Daily Football Briefing.”

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming, watching too much TV, and chasing squirrels with her dog Cece.

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