German publishing giant Axel Springer has announced the closure of its news outlet Upday, revealing plans to reintroduce it as an AI-driven “trend news generator.” The current iteration of Upday is set to cease operations by the end of the year, with the revamped AI service anticipated to launch in the summer of 2024.
Axel Springer intends to repurpose the Upday brand for its new AI-driven platform, aiming to explore the potential of artificial intelligence in journalism and the news industry. During this transformation, job cuts at Upday are confirmed, and efforts will be made to assist affected staff in securing positions within the broader Axel Springer group.
Of the initial 150-member workforce, 70 employees will remain after the restructuring. Starting in the coming year, Axel Springer will deploy the UPDAY brand on a smaller scale for its new AI-driven platform.
Thomas Hirsch, CEO of UPDAY, expressed anticipation for the innovative ways the new product will leverage the opportunities and possibilities presented by AI. Originally created as a news service for Samsung devices in 2015, “Upday for Samsung” has been pre-installed on Samsung phones across 34 European countries. The service will remain accessible during a transition period of over a year for users on existing Samsung devices.
This strategic shift aligns with Axel Springer’s broader digital transformation, moving away from traditional print media towards a focus on digital news. The company, known for owning prominent publications like Bild and Welt in Germany and the U.S. political news website Politico, reflects the evolving landscape of media consumption.