GenAI tool saves €500,000 annually at OVB Media

By Sonali Verma


Toronto, Ontario, Canada


How often do you develop a tool within 10 weeks that saves half a million euros annually? 

That is the story of Wortwandler, an editing tool developed by OVB Media in Germany and a finalist in the INMA Global Media Awards

OVB noticed that about 60% of the locally produced content in its local newspapers comprises events, such as hyperlocal news about sports teams. This is what its readers value. The content is mostly generated by about 300 local freelancers, and it was a huge task to edit all this content for grammar, style, and ensure it was the correct length. 

A screenshot of Generative tool Wortwandler.
A screenshot of Generative tool Wortwandler.

“It was the biggest pain point when we looked at our processes. It was also the biggest opportunity,” said Managing Director Florian Schiller, who is responsible for all digital business areas at OVB.

To solve the problem, OVB outsourced this editing work to a team of 15 editors so its own staff could focus on quality journalism.

“We thought we had solved the issue, but it was only half the truth because it created new processes back and forth between the editing team and the print desk. It could be that an article went back and forth two or three times,” Schiller said. 

OVB decided to try generative AI technology as it built a tool called Wortwandler. It defined 12 different use cases for 12 different types of articles that freelancers filed, covering 99% of the content it wanted to edit. It then plugged these into Wortwandler and let it edit the text.

After about two weeks of fine-tuning under the hood, OVB was satisfied with the quality of the editing. The results were consistently good, Schiller said. Its in-house editors were also pleased with the product, which saved them the back and forth with the external team and reliably produced edited copy within 10 minutes. 

Wortwandler started handling copy for all local editions within 10 weeks. OVB dissolved the external editing team, resulting in savings of €500,000 annually. 

Schiller also loves another feature of GenAI, which was set up to handle a wide range of use cases at OVB. He calls it The Diplomat.

“On our reach news portals, where there is lots of traffic and engagement and comments, people attack each other all the time and you have to calm them down. From time to time, people start attacking you, the newsroom.

“So the audience team said, this is really exhausting. Can you do something?”

All editors need to do is copy the insult from the commenter into the The Diplomat, and “it will write the most polite, nice, charming answer. It is really astonishing how it calms down the audience. The response is also direct and takes up the point that they are making,” Schiller said.

The Diplomat is now used for dealing with critical e-mails to the editor of the print newsroom, as well as certain special cases of customer service, he said: “It is now the most popular, beloved feature within the company.” 

You can learn more about this and other clever uses of GenAI at our master class, where Schiller will be speaking.

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About Sonali Verma

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