Who wins the HTML5 vs. apps debate?

App Store

NEW YORK – Panelist at Digiday Mobile said although HTML5 is changing the face of mobile, the technology still presents challenges.

During the “Digiday Debates: HTML5 vs. Apps” panel, executives discussed whether or not apps will continue to rule the roost. The panel also talked about whether the advent of HTML5 will mean the application of digital media will have a short shelf life.

“People want to have content when they want it and how they want it,” said Adam Broitman, partner and ringleader at Circ.us, New York. “Companies are having to conform to go where the people are because they want the money.”

Mobile revolution
According to Mr. Broitman, we are going through a device revolution right now.

The executive also discussed how HTML5 is changing the face of mobile.

HTML5 enables open, cross-platform rich-media standards that help brands’ and agencies’ display advertising achieve the creative and reach across various mobile devices.

Although Apple contributed significantly to the growth of HTML5 – first by refusing to let its iOS devices support Adobe Flash, then by launching its own rich-media mobile ad network, iAd, Mr.  Broitman believes that HTML5 is helping companies create rich content and bypass the App Store.

“That’s exactly the reason that the Financial Times opted to do it,” Mr. Broitman said. “And they weren’t pulled from the App Store, they removed themselves from the App Store and they’ve seen an increasing amount of page views on their side.

In June, The Financial Times decided to take a different route to drive mobile subscriptions and launched a browser-based application instead of making the content available via Apple's App Store.

The Financial Times Web App was built using HTML5 technology, which is helping the company reduce costs and increase efficiency by designing one app that can be rolled out across multiple devices and that does not need to be downloaded from an app store.

“Consumers don’t really care where they get their content,” Mr. Broitman said. “They want what’s easiest.

“From a publishing perspective it doesn’t makes sense that you’re going to be giving the distributer 30 percent of your revenue,” he said.  “The cable business doesn’t work like that, no other media industry works that way.”

Although HTML5 is growing rapidly and many brands and agencies are adapting it in their strategies, Mr. Broitman said that the technology is still not there yet.

“HTML5 is not as fast,” Mr. Broitman said. “We’re not there yet.”

Up for debate
Mr. Broitman also said that there will be no App Store by 2015.

“I do strongly believe that the iTunes App Store is identical to what AOL was when it first got people online,” said Adam Broitman, partner and ringleader at Circ.us, New York.

“By 2015, all of us will feel silly talking about apps,” he said.

Adam Boyden, president of Conduit, San Francisco, disagreed on the comment that the App Store will no longer exist by 2015.

“I think it’s a bit of a stretch to assume that it is going to go away that quickly,” Mr. Boyden said.

The executive also believes that HTML5 is the new standard.

“A lot of apps out there don’t have to be native code,” Mr. Boyden said. “They can be HTML5.”

At the end of the day, it all comes down what the consumer wants.

“Companies have to understand that in the end, consumers want the coolest app possible and if the next guy down the street is using the accelerometer, the compass and the camera and you’re not, then you lose,” Mr. Boyden said.  

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

Associate Editor Rimma Kats covers media, television, research and social networks. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.