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NEW YORK — According to Mark Cuban, the online space is in for a shakeout, 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 entitled “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 more mainstream, the HDNet chairman expects some hot online properties to begin running into trouble as their lack of money-making potential becomes apparent.
Cuban bets that one future growth area of entertainment will be a face-to-face evolution of online networking: big sports and other events shown on giant screens to large audiences. He also signaled that he will keep an eye on mobile opportunities.
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 news magazines.” He also 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. “I’m sure Time magazine will in very short order be available,” he suggested.
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.
Meanwhile, AOL is using Advertising Week V for one of its first big promotional pushes for its collection of online ad assets.
Pillows and signage emblazoned with the slogan “Platform A — seize the Web,” touting its ad display network, were placed in visible locations at Monday’s event, and brochures and posters touted such AOL brands as TMZ, Moviefone, Bebo, Lemondrop and Advertising.com with the tagline “Let our brands work for yours.”
Among the top 11 things people might not know about AOL’s properties, one fact sheet listed: “More women 25-54 go on AOL Media Properties in a day than watch ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ “
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