Marc Cuban: New Media Producers Are Suckers

Jan 28th, 2009 | By | Category: Commentary, Internet TV, Streaming Video, Video

Marc Cuban has published a provocative post at his Blog Maverick site, The Great Internet Video Lie.

In it, Cuban argues that new media producers that think that the Internet is democratizing video are suckers that have bought into a big lie:

The Great Internet Video Lie is that the internet opens distribution to compete with the evil gate keepers, cable and satellite.

In reality, if you have a desire to deliver a large number of streams, and you want to compete with another internet video provider to offer a large number of streams, you are not in a very good position. You are at the mercy of 3 or 4 CDNs, the ultimate internet video gatekeepers

The internet is not an open video platform. Video distribution of any scale places you at the mercy of just a very few CDNs. You literally have to compete for timeslots for very large events.

If you have dreams of competing with traditional TV network viewing numbers using the internet, dream on. You cant afford it. You have been sucker punched by the Great Internet Lie.

While there’s a lot of truth to what Cuban says, he’s judging the success of new media by old media metrics.

Much of what makes new media so interesting is that you don’t have to play by the old rules and you can judge your success by your own measures. As a result, there are people that are making from their bedrooms and getting millions of views.

What do you think? Is Marc Cuban right? Is new media for suckers?

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6 Responses to “Marc Cuban: New Media Producers Are Suckers”

  1. Bill Grady says:

    Marc is right if the intent by a creator is to make a show that’s better than “Lost” and distribute it on the Internet. However I am assuming most Internet video content creators do not have this delusion. Marc is very much wrong when he says the Internet is not an open video form. It very much is an open video form at the purest level because there are no gate-keepers, no producers to go through, or in most cases no investors to gain backing for the project. Instead you just need a camera, a computer, and an internet connection. Good writing, talent, and a whole lot of luck doesn’t hurt either.

  2. James Lewin says:

    Bill –

    Good points.

    Cuban seems to think that something like “Lost” or the Superbowl is the measure of online video success.

    What’s more interesting to me is that there are a lot of people getting millions of views on DIY-style content.

  3. msbpodcast says:

    Mark Cuban is right, S

    treaming over the internet is for idiots and suckers.

    It requires an extremely expensive infrastructure.

    Exunt streaming.Enter podcasting.

    Podcasting doesn’t require that we spend one red cent on new infrastructure.

    The current infrastructure is entirely sufficient to carry everybody’s podcasts from hardworking but so overworked server source to merely sufficient PC based destination.

    He gets that the current structure can’t “carry that weight” but is can carry it chopped up for transmission and reassembled on a client machine and played when its required.

  4. Jae says:

    Cuban is right. There are other alternatives to the mass streamed event model that he holds dear but none that can make any real money…as things stand.

    It’s just that he’s a rich guy looking for a model that will make him rich guy kinda money.
    He’s exactly the kind of guy that’ll miss the next big thing.

  5. Rob Greenlee says:

    Marc is still living in his Broadcast.com days. Achieving new media success is possible for the little guy, but it is true that the major media companies have many advantages over the little guy new media productions. It is also true that the little guy can scale on the video distribution side for very low cost through sites like YouTube. But, if you want to stand on your own and own collocated servers and pay for your own bandwidth – it can be tough to compete with the major media companies. At times even the major media companies struggle to keep new media activities funded as they often don’t create enough revenue to pay for all the production, bandwidth and staff costs. The content is leading the online business models and many view these efforts as long-term investments in the future. The other advantage major media companies have is the cross-promotional abilities through established audiences and it is easier to grow when you have large existing broadcast audiences. The little guy content producer needs to be very smart and use social media platforms and audience loyalty strategies to reach and grow. They also need to use a very diverse distribution strategy and go to where audience currently exists, add value to the audience, develop audience interactivity and regularly produce with consistent high-quality. Right now no one is making much money on new media productions, because some usage tracking and audience engagement standards have not been set yet. These must happen before the little guys or the big guys will make enough to cover the costs. Yet, many will never earn any revenue and will not care as they make content to support other businesses and activities that are important to many audiences and content makers. I believe everyone will win at sometime in the future as all these things will get worked out and all levels will have a path to success. Rob Greenlee

  6. Person says:

    One might add that in theory, the Internet Service Providers can act as gatekeepers. But as long as net neutrality is the policy and there isn’t much censoring, it is only in theory.

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