Dallas Mavericks and HDNet chief Mark Cuban said Tuesday that despite making a dollar or two off of the Internet himself from Broadcast.com, he is more bullish on cable right now from a video delivery standpoint.
"I'd rather advertise in a cable programming guide than (on) the Internet," he told an admittedly home court crowd of cable execs at The Independent Show in San Francisco, noting people are buying more TV's than PC's. "The digital side of cable offers more opportunity than the Internet does."
Among his reasoning is there are just too many standards for web video right now. "If you want to advertise, you can't just do one ad and put it everywhere," he noted.
Sitting on stage in a Dallas Mavericks t-shirt and jeans and staying after until the last person who wanted one got a photo with him or an autograph, Cuban touched on plenty of other topics in a wide-ranging Q&A with confab attendees.
Saying he was tired of cable operators being forced to hold places in their lineups for smaller cable channels run by big media conglomerates, he said he has begun working on lobbying strategies for the first time.
"I used to say let the best business win, but we're taking steps now," he said. "It's also about independent voices. We've seen what's happened now with News of the World, we've seen when big companies control the voice of the media."
On Netflix, he said that it is "successful because they took all the garbage no one - wait, that's not fair to call it garbage, it's library content - but they came to Viacom and everyone and said we'll pay you cash up front, whereas Apple and Amazon (didn't).
Netflix will be in great shape until someone (else) pays cash upfront."
Cuban is also rumored by many to be a potential bidder for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, which is in the middle of an ownership mess. But the outspoken NBA team owner has been down that road before, when he was in the mix for the
Chicago Cubs when they were on the block by Tribune. He says he learned a lot from that experience that he would take into any talks with the Dodgers.
"I learned a lot from the Cubs. I learned how to get abused and I learned how to get played. They kept on using me to drive up the price," he said, dismissing past reports he had bid $1.2 billion for the Cubs. "(Tribune chief) Sam Zell wouldn't meet with me.
He just wanted to use me as a stalking horse. When I go back down to L.A. to work, everyone says, ‘Buy the Dodgers.' But I want to celebrate the Mavericks."
The one thing he wouldn't talk about was the NBA's labor problems, as he knows all too well what it is like to be fined by NBA commissioner David Stern.
"That would be the most expensive question I ever answered," he said with a laugh, saying he wished he could answer the question.
Basketball and maybe baseball are not the only sports interests for Cuban, who says he has two people working full time on a new playoff system for college football. He says he can't make his plans public until next month, but hinted they would include a series of conference championship games leading to some sort of a playoff system. "The one thing we know is if it does pass, it's going to be on HDNet," he said.
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