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Tribune Publishing chairman: We want to start publishing 2,000 videos a day with artificial intelligence

From Michael Ferro's CNBC hit earlier today.

Tronc chairman Michael Ferro
Tronc chairman Michael Ferro

Late last week, Tribune Publishing announced that it was now called Tronc (or tronc, with the five-years-too-late-to-be-fashionable lowercase first letter), with a focus on producing content using artificial intelligence.

The zany AI angle, pushed heavily by Tronc's new billionaire biotech benefactor Patrick Soon-Shiong, is just one recent twist in the saga at the once-storied newspaper chain. Since USA Today owner and rival Gannett made a hostile bid for Tribune/Tronc last month, Chairman Michael Ferro has done everything to keep the company from changing hands.

On CNBC today, Ferro outlined some of his plans to revitalize the company, whose share price has dropped by nearly half over the last couple years. It involves using vaguely described machine learning technology to produce lots of video.

"There's all these really new, fun features we're going to be able to do with artificial intelligence and content to make videos faster," Ferro told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin. "Right now, we're doing a couple hundred videos a day; we think we should be doing 2,000 videos a day."

BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, for comparison, reportedly makes around 65 to 75 videos per week.

As for the new name, Ferro says that it's partly because Tribune Publishing wasn't even a name that the company owns; the Tribune brand is licensed from TV broadcaster Tribune Media, from which Tribune Publishing was spun out in 2014.

We've reached out to a Tronc representative for comment, and will update if we hear more. You can watch more of Ferro's interview below:

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