Mark Cuban was at D last week in a blue and white football jersey. It’s hard to believe that the man is neary 51. Still engaging and (okay, hot), he draws the audience in with controversial comments and an air of leadership.
He reminds us that 99% of people still watch TV versus online despite the growth of online video, especially for movies, “HDTV is a big part of people’s lives in the living room,” says Mark.
“When Google bought YouTube, they didn’t monetize it immediately. The message was volume and ubiquity, and if that’s the criteria, then you don’t pay attention to money right away.”
As for Cuban on his future plans, he says, “it’s a big fight and really expensive to have anything stand out. Unless you think you can create a platform that out-numbers YouTube, and then you have to work up against some really big pockets.”
Despite some that say online viral will work alone, there’s still a huge cost of marketing, particularly if you want to stay in the game long term. Walt Mossberg asks him whether he actually watches online video and we learn that he does but it’s not “substantial.”
Video for the internet becomes a testing ground for mediums that have revenue and actual businesses that can be profitable. Rupert Murdoch, who was sitting three seats away from me in the front row, was busy jotting down notes as Cuban talked about online video business models. And then he changed direction, “What happens if someone outgoogled Google?” he asks Walt in an intimate on-stage dialogue.
He expands on business models. “Facebook has a large user base but is experimenting with everything else.” Mark reminds us that everyone has a primary area and then everything else. He says, “Google has search that they monetize and that subsidizes everything else. Everyone has their one big thing where they make money and it subsidizes everything else.”
Swisher asks him what he thinks the business model is for Twitter, still determined to get an answer a day after the Twitter founders were on stage. Cuban responds, “its not a question of a business model, it’s a question with what. They’re just having fun teasing everyone and playing with people, but its just a question of when.”
Charisma and a sense of authority remains, football jersey and all. Latest stats I’ve seen is that he has a net worth of $2.3 billion. Not bad for recessionary times.