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(Media) History Repeating Itself

Content really is king, if not on the web then at least on the mobile web.

Yes, we talk a lot about the wonders of the mobile web these days, at least I've found myself writing quite a bit about it this spring, but that link will take you to an article from 2006 which was none too optimistic about all the hype surrounding the mobile web at the time.

Admittedly, smartphones such as the iPhone has radically changed the outlook for the mobile web, but this mobile revolution has been some time in the making. When I talked to VG Multimedia's CEO Jo Christian Oterhals for a magazine feature earlier this year, he told me he attended his first conference on the mobile internet as early as 1999.

This may be partly because, as John Naughton argued in his excellent piece "Everything you need to know about the internet" this weekend, the internet's full potential to transform our lives is still unknown - it's an evolution, not an overnight revolution.

But it's also partly because our industry is full of slogans and hype, some of which never become more than pretty slogans - and yet they're still reused at regular intervals. I stumbled across the OhMyNews article I link to in the intro when I googled this quote Kevin Anderson left in comment on my post on Lorites and Longtails for more context:

"For the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work. The long-term prospects are good, but I expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It isn't working yet, and it may not for some time....In the long run, advertising is promising."

That's Bill Gates, writing in 1996. Of course, now, as Paul Bradshaw brilliantly deconstructs, it's curation that is king. Adam Tinworth provides a top-notch analysis of this "silver bullet" mentality here, followed up by Kevin here.

I'm thinking perhaps there is a gap in the market here for a blog keeping track of all those tired slogans and debates that keeps popping up again and again when you least expect it.... In the meantime, here's Shirley Bassey and Propellerheads with "History Repeating": 


Just in pursuit of being the one who you refer to in 10 years time in a similarly landscape tracking blog post, I'd go as far as to say that the question of who pays for what or the 'doesn't the future look grim outlook' is probably a construct pedalled by those who have (perhaps) a little too much time on their hands ... ;)

Some things will never change.

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