Though at times difficult to decipher there are some great points in this article on the burgeoning American app. culture and its effect on web publishing.
After 15 years as the net’s publishing platform of choice, a movement is growing that wants to put the web back in its box.
Blame the “app”. With little prior culture of mobile web consumption, publishers have barely given their HTML efforts five minutes in the sun before preferring to code snazzy, custom, closed interfaces instead in the likes of Xcode and Objective-C, in iPhone’s case.
After the desktop OS and browser wars of the late 90s settled down in to uniform web standards, many of us had thought the web, which runs through my veins, would become the mobile platform of choice in the same way. But, the rise of the revenue-making app store sales channel has coincided with publishers’ realisation that, if there are precious few ways of monetising content on the desktop web, then little would be different on the handset or tablet flavour.
Print is dying and outside of large websites like the NY Times, which in itself is difficult to read and lifeless, few print publications have truly embraced or innovated with their web efforts. Their web publications are generally profitable but not to the degree that it can carry the whole company. LeMonde is a current example with their profitable but barely recognized web division, management with no vision and an extremely expensive print operation.
Apps. give these dinosaurs the type of control that they have experienced in the past, with the medium that their customers are embracing, and a new more predictable revenue stream. It’s a package they can more readily understand. For the reader there is nothing new here. Most efforts I have seen for the iPad are nothing more than cheap imitations of the print version or a rehashing of what we used to see on cd-rom.
Sure; through a new focus on lean-back consumption over sit-forward distraction, the hyperactive attention deficit that comes with continual self-satisfied link clicking will dissipate. But so may the marvellous connections that the open web affords between people and content and places and pages, the opportunity to freely publish in an open ecosystem and the serendipity of discovering something unexpected at the end of a mouse click.