Generative AI presents a challenge for media companies that can no longer rely on Google for “discovery.” The chat UI commoditizes everything it indexes so every source in its index is reduced to a mere footnote.

The article (or media artifact) construct will exist tangentially to chat, but with less importance to the reader experience and more important as a reference source. The media brand will surface as a validator in the chat experience, a signature of quality like “Intel Inside.” Only the most recognizable will have value. Evergreen content, like the hundreds of articles of the “how to stop a bleeding nose” variety will languish. Personal, timely, authoritative POV will do much better. 

The few media companies that cross the line between content and data provider will find valuable new opportunities in the chat world. A rich, faceted database of all the roofing providers, senior living centers or drug conditions will find a way to capture value connected to AI and upstream of clear economic events. Similarly, marketplaces that represent a unique catalog of products will do well. Value increases with proximity to a transaction.

Can Media Survive the AI Onslaught

The challenge for publishers is to build a sustainable editorial voice that remains a destination alongside a readily available AI resource that will expand to meet any and all curiosity-driven demands. Focus on attracting a readers with a unique community and nourish that community with a unique and entertaining stories.