@ OnMedia: Mark Cuban: Google, Content Aggregators Are Vampires; Newspapers Are Zombies

When Mark Cuban (image, left) thinks of newspapers, he thinks of vampires. Newspapers getting their blood sucked by Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and content aggregators, said Cuban, the chairman of HDNet & Owner, Dallas Mavericks, speaking at the OnMedia conference in New York. While Cuban’s vampire lore might be off, he continued the horror story analog, saying that newspapers have been running scared and are being turned into zombies. “At some point, you would think that the vampires run out of victims — people to suck. Because they run out of content. But that never happens in the vampire story. What happens is, someone drives a stake through their heart. That’s the only way to stop a vampire.”

Cuban then asked the audience to summon another imaginary scenario. He asked the audience to wonder what the world would be like if there were no newspapers, if we lived in a purely digital world. If someone started a magazine, would it be successful? Cuban said yes, that there is always a place and a need for content. Addressing content companies, “You guys are always looking for the next thing to save you. Your core competencies is you create news, you create content. You just have to stop offering your necks to the vampires.”

In coming up with the silver bullet (if Cuban can muddy the vampire story, so can I) that will save content providers, Cuban took a look at the way new devices can be employed and let newspapers finally get it right. “Look for new opportunities. The iPad is, the Kindle isn’t. The Kindle just reprints what you already do. The iPad represents a new way to present information and, most importantly, sell ads against your content. The Kindle looks nice, it’s portable, but ultimately, it looks like a first generation product that has no future. The iPad will allow content companies to present their work in a new way, and most importantly, sell ads against it.”