The ChatGPT Times

December 14th, 2023

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Another day, another podcast. Check out episode two of Future Forecast. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and maybe leave a good review or two 😉. Btw — anyone else treat audiobooks like podcasts?

In other news… Open AI and Business Insider parent company collaborate, Hollywood contends with musicals, and TikTokers market movies IRL.

Top Trends

YouTube → Civil War

Google → Luke Combs

Reddit → George Clooney

Spotify → “Super Trouper”

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Generate all about it // Illustration by Kate Walker

OpenAI breaks the news with Axel Springer deal

The Future. Axel Springer SE is getting paid to be training data for ChatGPT, with OpenAI striking a first-of-its-kind deal with the Germany-based publishing giant. With other publishers expected to follow, catching up on the headlines of the day may soon be curated by a chatbot.

The ChatGPT Times
OpenAI has struck a three-year deal with OpenAI for “tens of millions of euros,” reports Bloomberg.

  • The deal allows articles and other content from outlets like Politico, Insider, Bild, and Die Welt to be used to train ChatGPT.

  • It’ll also be used to generate answers when users ask ChatGPT a question, linking back those answers to relevant articles — the first time an AI firm will credit a news publisher.

  • Users will also be able to ask ChatGPT for news summaries of the day, which will be powered by Axel Springer’s publications.

Axel Springer, which has already been toying with AI in the newsroom at Insider, says that the deal will help create a new revenue stream for the publisher — which, frankly, the industry needs as the digital advertising market continues to consolidate around Google and Meta. But, some publishers think that opening up their outlets to ChatGPT is a Pandora’s Box.

For OpenAI, the deal represents a huge step forward in gaining access to valuable and vetted content — a key element in winning over the trust of customers.

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Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Hollywood mutes musical marketing

The Future. Over the next couple of months, Wonka, Mean Girls, and The Color Purple are all slated for release… but only the The Color Purple has really shown that it’s actually a full-fledged musical. The current Hollywood perception is that the actual music in musicals limits a movie’s appeal, but audiences finding out that a film is a musical after the fact could hurt its chances of success even more.

Mic check
Hollywood is a bit embarrassed about its upcoming musicals, with Wonka and Mean Girls having mostly sidestepped onscreen singing in digital marketing materials.

  • Paramount released a theatrical trailer for Mean Girls that showed star Reneé Rapp singing a number from the Broadway musical that it’s adapted from… but only because it played in front of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour concert film.

  • Ironically, Wonka star Timothée Chalamet has discussed how he was cast partly because of high school YouTube videos that featured his singing voice… a fact that has generated headlines but still hasn’t translated to marketing.

Why are studios hiding the showstoppers? During the pandemic, Disney’s West Side Story and Warner Bros.’ In the Heights severely underperformed at the box office despite their creative pedigree. And before that, Cats and Dear Evan Hansen failed to launch.

The argument is that audiences didn’t show up because of the musical elements, pointing to how Frozen wasn’t marketed as a musical and that didn’t stop its success. Sure, maybe. But 2017’s The Greatest Showman was marketed as a wall-to-wall musical, and that film pulled a global box office haul of $434 million.

So, as the old Hollywood saying goes, “Nobody knows anything.”

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JStoobs // Illustration by Kate Walker

Film influencer Jstoobs turns TikTok fame into establishment embrace

The Future. Social media fame and Hollywood marketing are colliding with a new partnership involving Megan “JStoobs” Cruz, bringing her digital influence to the theaters. If the experiment works and turns TikTokers into ticket buyers, every theater chain may try to book their own roster of influencers to host screenings.

The big and small screen
JStoobs is expanding her reach.

  • She landed a deal with the renowned Landmark Theatres chain, where she’ll host a Filmmaker Focus series “spotlighting screenings of acclaimed directors’ work” — Yorgos Lanthimos is the first selection, building up to the release of Poor Things.

  • She’s also launching a podcast called “The Broad Perspective” — a female-focused interview series that’ll feature both digital influencers and established filmmakers.

JStoobs, who’s part of a growing subculture of MovieTok influencers who are getting the attention of Hollywood, commands an audience of nearly 550,000 followers. With the Landmark deal, she has the opportunity to pull in a big audience for curated film screenings (a personal favorite of hers), who view it as a chance to see the influencer IRL.

That could be a win for a theatrical industry looking to boost revenue and filmmakers, who want to reach a younger audience.

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‘Tis the season to give

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‘Tis the season, ya’ll.


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • After the runaway success of Suits on Netflix, USA Networks is reentering the scripted space to bring back its classic “blue-sky” procedurals that were hits in the 2000s and 2010s. Read More → deadline

  • Netflix announced the dates of next year’s “Netflix Is a Joke” comedy festival, which will feature over 300 shows spread across 35 Los Angeles venues. Read More → variety

  • The Motion Picture Association — the main trade group for Hollywood — is lobbying Congress to pass a law that would allow piracy sites outside of the US to be blocked. Read More → deadline

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Musician Travis Scott and tennis legend John McEnroe are collabing on a Nike sneaker. Read More → hypebeast

  • Apple will let third parties use its tap-and-go mobile payments tech in an effort to appease EU regulators. Read More → reuters

  • Mars is strategizing a way to double snacking revenue amid a craving for Ozempic. Read More → forbes

Tech, Web3, & AI

In partnership with Rainbook

  • Tesla has recalled over two million vehicles after an investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the automaker’s Autopilot feature to be partly defective. Read More → bbc

  • Researchers from Stanford University found that high school students using ChatGPT en masse to cheat on assignments hasn’t really happened. Read More → nyt

  • A new technology dubbed “Brainoware” is able to fuse lab-grown brain tissue, microchips, and AI — setting the stage for humanity to one day merge with technology. Read More → engadget

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Creator Economy

  • That background in your friend’s Insta Story may have been generated with AI. Read More → theverge

  • Viral Nation has launched a new venture to help influencers launch consumer products. Read More → tubefilter

  • After being told since elementary school that she looks like one of the motion-capture characters from The Polar Express, 22-year-old Nia Wilkerson is embracing the likeness for TikTok glory. Read More → nyt


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Los Angeles, CA

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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