Cuban delivers hard knocks

Calls Internet space 'matured,' says papers' best course is bankruptcy

Mark Cuban says the online space is in for a shake-up and newspapers' best option is to declare bankruptcy.

"The Internet has matured. It's not where all the excitement will happen over the next five years," he said Monday during a panel titled "The Future of Media" that kicked off the fifth annual Advertising Week in New York.

Asked where he is putting his money these days, Cuban said: "In the bank. This is where you save for the rainy day."

As the Web continues to become mainstream, the HDNet chairman expects some hot online properties to begin running into trouble as their lack of moneymaking potential becomes apparent.

Cuban also recommended that newspaper owners declare bankruptcy, arguing that soon they won't reach enough people.

Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff also took a bearish view on traditional media, suggesting that their content sometimes actually loses value in the digital age.

"These brands look more and more ridiculous," he said, pointing to what he called "the obsolescence of weekly newsmagazines." He argued that people who only read the New York Times these days are simply "old people."

As a result, Wolff expects some big media brands to come up for sale at good prices in the coming years.

Meanwhile, AOL chairman and CEO Randy Falco argued that brands still count in today's highly fragmented digital media world. "The blogosphere is not the most reliable source of news," he said.

Univision Communications CEO Joe Uva also defended existing brands. As long as they provide unique value, they could even attract new revenue from micropayments, premium services and online subscriptions, he said. (partialdiff)
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