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Flipboard founder: Web will soon 'look more like print'

At TechCrunch Disrupt, Mike McCue says with technologies like HTML5, and content aggregation systems like Flipboard, the mobile Web is approaching a print-magazine-like experience.

SAN FRANCISCO--The Web will soon look a lot like a traditional print experience, the founder of leading iPad news aggregator Flipboard said Monday.

Speaking on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference here, Mike McCue, whose Flipboard has attracted more than $60 million in funding, explained that in his view, tablets like the iPad are "creating a new kind of (content) consumption experience, (one which) people have been dreaming about."


McCue, who had previously created and sold Internet voice communications firm Tellme, said that iPads and other tablets offer users a "fundamental improvement to the (mobile) Web," in part because of the utilization of HTML5. And that makes today "one of the most exciting times to start a company."

McCue's most striking comment was that he expects a rapid transformation of mobile Web content in the next few years as a result of HTML5 and other technology being applied to tablets and mobile experiences. The upshot, he said, is that he expects the Web "will look more like print" in the next few years, but will be monetized differently.

Flipboard is at the forefront of a generation of hot tablet-based content aggregators that also includes Zite, TweetMag, and others. McCue said Flipboard has to date been downloaded about 3.5 million times, and is currently seeing about 550 million monthly "flips," or views of third-party publishers' content, up from about 400 million just four months ago.

He also acknowledged that because Flipboard is a tablet experience, it tends to be used as an adjunct to content readers' laptops, rather than as a replacement. That means, McCue said, that the service sees its biggest daily peaks between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and on weekends. The second biggest daily spike, he said, is over breakfast.