With the rise of smartphones and tablets, it can seem like apps are taking over our online sessions. But are apps the best way to offer content to readers and viewers? This is the third part in our series looking at the battle between HTML5 and apps. In part one, Comcast voted for both. In part two, Finnish TV said HTML5.
Agreeing with that second viewpoint is Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of Technology Review, which is published by MIT. Speaking at a retreat hosted by Beet.TV, Pontin said that the closed experience offered by apps wasn’t working for content providers.
“These closed walled garden apps that we started to create at vast expense within the iOS APIs or the Android APIs haven’t really succeeded, and it’s fairly clear, at least to the developers I talked to, if tablets do succeed it’s going to be based on an open set of standards,” said Pontin.
Not only are apps not succeeding for content creators, but tablets aren’t, either. Many in the publishing world hoped that tablets would reinvigorate subscriptions, but that didn’t happen.
“Tablets, which many people in the media industry have had a feckless infatuation with — the belief that it would somehow resurrect the business models of the last 300 years of media — have proven to be a disappointment if you thought you could simply go and pull the old print model out onto these new devices,” noted Pontin.
While apps and tablets aren’t paying off for content creators, community has proven to be key.
“We have learned that community is vitally important, that it is much more of a conversation, and that the group we used to call the audience are not passive consumers of our editorial,” said Pontin.
Advertising holds strong promise for online content creators, such as targeting abilities beyond what TV or print can offer, but Pontin said there’s much to learn, and that publishers need to know more about viewer demographics and how viewers respond to ads.
“We don’t know what the future advertising formats are going to look like. No matter how clever banner advertising gets or pre-roll advertising gets in video, at some level we’re still trying to replicate in media the advertising formats that sustained us for so long in print. I think we need an entirely new form of advertising, suggested Pontin. That new form would need to be more useful to the viewer.
To watch the entire interview (used courtesy of Beet.TV), scroll down.