‘Ask FT’, Google’s Gemini package & Salesforce’s Hubspot Alternative

Published 05/04/2024 / FRESH INK

Grab that Saturday paper – you are not alone – the weekend is a charm for readership.  

The FT pulls in a 106% higher circulation that its weekday papers. A trend mirrored across other papers!  

There’s more on the media landscape, rumours of Google adding AI-powered search to its Gemini package. And a very welcome end to calling publishers to cancel your subscription.  

Check out Fresh Ink this week: 

📰 The Weekend’s A Charm when it comes to readership  

🔎 AI-powered search might be added to Google’s Gemini package 

🎯 Salesforce offers SMBs a Hubspot alternative  

💻 Financial Times unveils AI chatbot ‘Ask FT’ 

⏬ BBC doubles down on new brands like BBC Verify 

❌ Call to Cancel gone in Digital Markets Bill  

The Weekend’s A Charm when it comes to readership  

The FT Weekend garners 106% higher circulation than its weekday papers. A trend that is mirrored across other UK national newspapers. The Guardian’s Saturday sales were 120% higher than weekdays in 2014, rising to 147% by 2021. The Times had a 4% Saturday circulation increase from 2014-2020, while weekdays fell 4%. And the Daily Mail nearly doubled Saturday sales, reflecting evolving readership trends over the years. 

Press Gazette – Widening gulf between weekday and Saturday UK newspaper sales revealed  

AI-powered search might be added to Google’s Gemini package 

Google is reportedly exploring the possibility of charging for certain AI-powered search features. The exclusive content would likely be part of its premium subscription services which includes Gemini, Google’s version of ChatGPT. If implemented, this would mark the first time Google charges for any of its content. Google’s traditional search engine, which still garners 80% of internet users, will remain free, but it will continue to display ads alongside search results. 

BBC – Google looks to AI paywall option, claims report  

Salesforce offers SMBs a Hubspot alternative  

With its new Salesforce Starter and Pro Suite, Salesforce is offering a SMB sales and marketing package. The products have a user-friendly interface, contextual guidance, and integration with the Salesforce Data Cloud. All are designed to provide a unified view of the customer. This puts Salesforce in direct competition with HubSpot’s products, highlighting the significance of the SMBs in the economy. 

Diginomica – Compare and contrast – Salesforce takes on HubSpot to deliver ‘business in a box’ for SMBs  

Financial Times unveils AI chatbot ‘Ask FT’ 

The Financial Times has launched its new generative AI chatbot ‘Ask FT’, which answers users questions from content published by the outlet over the last two decades. It can provide responses to current events and broader queries, citing article sources in its answers. The tool is currently only available in beta mode to a few hundred FT Professional subscribers. And it will continue to be unavailable to most subscribers, as the Financial Times develops and tests it.  

The Verge – Financial Times tests an AI chatbot trained on decades of its own articles  

BBC doubles down on new brands like BBC Verify 

The BBC has announced that it will explore reforms to the licence fee, as well as potential third-party deals with large international media companies and US broadcasters. This is part of the outlet’s plans to rebuild online services and source new income from commercial activities. The director general Tim Davie has also said that BBC plans to launch two new brands – a BBC investigation brand and a new long-reads brand. The broadcaster is “doubling down” on multi-media brands like ‘BBC Verify’. 

Financial TimesBBC to explore third-party deals as it looks to reboot under plan for future  

Call to Cancel gone in Digital Markets Bill  

The Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill is addressing subscription-related matters. Specifically, it mandates that consumers who enter online subscription contracts must have the ability to cancel them online. This provision prevents businesses, including publishers, from requiring subscribers to call and speak to a person for cancellation. Representatives in the creative sector are navigating the new laws whilst emphasising that subscriptions play a crucial role in revenue generation and support sustainable business models.  

Press Gazette – How publishers will need to change subscription policies due to Digital Markets Bill 


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