On Wednesday, George Colony, Chairman and CEO of Forrester Research, gave the opening keynote at the IIS conference hosted by SIIA. He made a compelling case for digital disruption, a buzz word that’s getting plenty of play. But what I found most interesting was his argument that the Web is like AM radio — it will always be around, but will soon become an antiquated form of communication. The Internet, on the other hand, will continue to evolve and disrupt the way we communicate.
If you’re confused about the difference, you’re probably not alone. But the Web is a user interface superimposed on the Internet, which is the structure and cables that make high-speed communication possible. So mobile technology works off the Internet, but may or may not use the Web. The same goes for tablets. Which means that subscription sites may need to start imagining a future where they offer subscription digital content, which may or may not require engaging with an actual website.
Colony also said that consumers were willing to give up privacy for greater health and greater safety. The jury is still out on whether they’ll give it up for greater convenience. But as I’ve often said, they will *pay* for greater convenience. Which is why tablet publishing is revitalizing the paid content industry. Clearly, there will always be some use for Web-based content, just as AM radio continues to thrive. But wi-fi enabled tablets and mobile devices are the most likely FM comparison, and most publishers would be wise to start envisioning how they can dominate their niche through those devices.