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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Marc Cuban At AlwaysOn

Here are my notes from the session with Marc Cuban and Allen Delattre.

You don't want to fix the chasm between the San Fernando and Silicon Valleys. Cuban thinks this would blight innovation and creativity. NBA GM analogy: Hollywood's #1 job is to keep their job: "All that money, all the starlets you can meet?" It's good to keep the friction between tech and entertainment, keeps entertainment in check.

No matter what they do with DRM, it's going to get cracked. [...]

Average consumers say the solutions they're being offered are still way too complex. Cuban doesn't think this is a big deal. People don't know how to use the v-chip or picture-in-picture, but it doesn't stop them from using the TV. Look at how far people have come with cell phones, with email. New technology always has a front-end learning curve. It's not the job of the consumer to come up with the ultimate technology solutions, they follow the path of least resistance. Cell phones are one examples, eventually the PVR will be in the same role. Surveys and focus groups are always misleading. all blog search. Different than surveys, and different than search. There's a real-time passion to blogs. You can find out what people are thinking much more instantaneously. Distinction between relevant search results and timely search results; Google does one, Cuban hopes to serve the other need.

Blogs are analogous to other media. People will go to outlets they trust or they relate to. But at the same time you have the fragmentation/long tail issue. Bloggers who really want to stand out and become branded will have to market and promote themselves outside blogging. Once the new/different factor fades, people are going to have to work harder to stand out. Thinks aggregation will become more and more powerful.

Regarding podcasting, Cuban thinks it's analogous to streaming in terms of the economics. He understands there are distinctions, but thinks it's a long-tail phenomenon for podcasters, it's going to be tough to make a business out of a podcast for individuals. "A year after you start podcasting, if you go and analyze your revenue per hour, your not going to make minimum wage." Aggregation again becomes key here, he says.

Marc Canter asks about Hollywood and movie release issues. Cuban responds that they own certain theater chains, HDNet, and HDNet Films (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room). Traditionally, movies go into theaters, are out by 3-4 weeks in, and go through their regimented windowing process. "Our feeling was, why not just release the movies everywhere at the same time, and let the consumers decide when they want to see them?" "As long as you want to see the movie, I want to be able to provide it to you in the format you want to receive it." Some of the larger theater chains have told them they won't carry movies released in this way, it's going to take quite a bit for Hollywood to understand that this model will work.

Interactive TV, IPTV: Will start to experience different elements of interactive TV with video on demand. Re IPTV, the more variety in distribution, the better, and the infrastructure of it will only improve.

The world isn't flat for Cuban, says complexity rises with travel as far as outsourcing and business in Asia is concerned.

The two people he's learned the most amount marketing from: Dennis Rodman and Paris Hilton.

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