Maybe Prince was on to something when he recently proclaimed the Internet is dead .
Steve Rubel, in an Advertising Age article this week , suggests we prepare for "the end of the web as we know it."
"It's hard to believe but soon, if not already the web is going to become a lot less interesting to consumers -- and just as it approaches its 20th birthday," Rubel wrote.
It's taken those 20 years for the Internet to mature from a mostly PC-based application to now going mobile, which Rubel says means consumers' use of the web becomes more "mission-oriented." Content producers need to get creative, he says. They can't simply repurpose the same content for different platforms. We all know by now that newspapers didn't succeed when they made the same content available on the web as in print.
And newspapers are still struggling to find revenue-generating means of getting their content to consumers via mobile devices.
"It’s not much of a revolution yet, but what is increasingly apparent is that mobile devices have the potential to offer the journalism business that rare and beautiful thing: a second chance—another shot at monetizing digital content and ensuring future profitability that was missed during the advent of Web 1.0," Curtis Brainard wrote in the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review .
Brainard also wrote that many of the media executives he spoke to were hesitant about the future of mobile devices and e-readers.
"They see an opportunity, but don't know how bit it is, and most are skeptical that subscription and advertising revenues will ever return to pre-Internet levels," he wrote.
One Australian newspaper recently announced its attempt to expand to mobile devices.
The Sydney Morning Herald will offer an iPad-print subscription, Damon Kiesow of PoynterOnline reported this week. The Herald will be offering a weekday PDF tablet edition and a paper, home-delivered weekend edition.
The hybrid subscription will cost $4.50 (AU) a week (that's just under $4 USD), once the app is available on the iTunes store, according to the newspaper's Web site .
It's yet to be seen whether hybrid subscriptions are the answer to the news industry's declining revenues. But the message from industry insiders this week is clear: they must adapt to the evolving technologies.
"The circulation levels and ad dollars of yesterday may be gone for good, but there are real opportunities to reclaim control of journalism’s financial future. Second chances are rare, and if we miss this opportunity to capitalize on digital content, we may not get a third," Brainard concluded.
Photo by Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.