Live Blog: Mark Cuban Talks Tech, Business and Media at Ignition Conference

Posted by · December 1, 2011 11:59 am

Starting yesterday, big names in media, business and technology gathered in New York City to explore the future of media business at Business Insider’s Ignition 2011 Conference.  Just a moment ago, Mark Cuban took the stage with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget.  He’s slated to discuss the future of television and whether YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc will kill traditional TV watching.  I’m interested to see if Cuban will actually talk tech and media or just sports. Here’s the live blog:

3 p.m. EST– Henry Blodget (HB) asked Mark Cuban (MC) if he’s gonna buy the Dodgers.  MC says probably not, but he will take a look at them and consider it. (Thoughts, Jason C. Levine?)

3:04 p.m.– MC says that he does not like Wall Street. He says it has become a platform for hackers and high frequency traders. MC says Wall Street has lost its purpose.  “As an individual, unless you’re buying a stock that pays dividends directly to you, it’s like buying a baseball card.  It has lost its purpose completely.” (Just an FYI for those thinking of getting in on the Facebook IPO.)

3:05 p.m.– MC says that there is a transactional value to cash, and people should pay off any debts first, then strictly use cash to make purchases. He says: “If you’re a big investor, I wouldn’t put it in public stocks unless you feel strongly about a company.  There are so many start-ups now b/c it’s so easy to start a company and big investors should look at lists like Angels List and look to invest in smaller companies rather than publicly traded stocks. But most of all, investors should invest in themselves instead.”

3:08 p.m.– MC says he first learned to program on Ramix (not sure I spelled that right) at Indiana University then started using Basic, C++ and a number of other programming languages and put them to use working for Novell out of college and eventually started MicroSolutions (which he later sold for millions of dollars).

3:09 p.m.– MC says that since he had been in the tech business for a long time before the first Dot Com bubble, he was able to see it coming and sold his company (MicroSolutions) before things went south.

3:11 p.m.– HB asks MC about television and live entertainment.  MC says the true definition of television is that it’s the best alternative to boredom and he does not think that web videos will ever replace tv. “Web video is too much work to find,” he says. MC thinks live TV is the future.

3:14 p.m.– MC says having 7 million views on a live television program is way more powerful than having 7 million views over time on YouTube. He says that the Internet is designed for everything BUT video.  When Netflix has 30% of bandwidth on a cable provider, there’s a breakdown in service.  On the other hand, broadcasting networks are designed to handle a high load of viewers.  He says: “All the technology you can do on the Internet, you can do on a broadcasting network or a cable/satellite company, only better b/c they are designed for it.  You are seeing more advancements on the cable/satellite side than the Internet video side.” (Do you agree?)

3:16 p.m.– HB asks MC what he think about YouTube investing $100 million in original content. MC says (and this is paraphrased), “YouTube is smart. Google has a lot of money. They’ll figure out ways to make it work, but their challenge is that on the internet, you’re one to 10 zillion.  if you can drive traffic to one to 10 winners, maybe you will survive. Maybe. But your chances of success are that much more difficult because there are so many more competitors.  On TV, there are fewer competitors, yet it’s still incredibly difficult to be successful. People forget how hard it is to be successful in television and they think it will be easy to replicate that online. It won’t be.”

3:20 p.m.– HB asks MC about sports again, then ends the interview.

 

  • First of all, Cuban won’t buy the Dodgers because the price tag is too high given that the land surrounding the stadium is also part of the deal. There’s just no way he wants to spend a billion+ on the deal.

    Second, the choice between broadcast TV and internet video is probably a false one as we move into the future. The big TV broadcasters will have to use different methods to deliver content to viewers because the viewers are going to increasingly move away from the TV and being tied down by a cable to a unit somewhere. We’ve already killed viewing on a set schedule in favor of on-demand and automatic recording solutions. The cable or satellite channel packs will be the next thing to die as viewers clearly do NOT want to pay for 650 channels while only using a dozen or three. Every decent new TV I see has a ethernet port or a wireless antenna built-in so obviously manufacturers think the internet is somewhat in play.

    What I think will happen is there will be a new medium (Internet 2, anyone) in the not-too-distant future that the major broadcast players will fund and develop. That medium will be optimized for audio and video and devices will be able to attach to a stream optimized for the display.

    Or the global economy will collapse and we will all fight over scraps of food and the debate over how content is delivered will be a fever dream from the better times of the past.

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  • Zohar Pachek

    This is so exciting! I don’t think you’ve considered the human factor, but I still think you make a lot of sense.