The platform is the message

Mark Cuban · August 19, 2008 · Short URL:

Stop playing the game of replacing TV

 For years, people have been saying that they will watch things in HD that they would never ordinarily watch. In the 12 years I have been involved in Internet Video in one form or another, I have yet to have anyone ever tell me they will watch something just because it's on the internet. That's not to say people won't surf the Net and sample something they otherwise would not watch. That's what the internet video aggregation sites are all about. Sampling things you never would otherwise watch.

The thing is becoming increasingly clear, while more people are "snacking on Internet video," the real "meal" continues to be TV.

It appears like the Olympics are proving this out and presenting an interesting conclusion, people are starting to define the content they want to watch on each platform. The platform is the message to content creators.

Without question, people want to watch big events on their big HDTVs. There is a reason why 30 percent of homes, and quickly growing, now have HDTVs. They like to watch them. With a 73" HDTV from Mitsubishi down to about $2200 bucks, it's easy to see why and the pricing of all HDTVs continuing to fall.

It's a trend that's not going to end anytime soon. Watching an event like the Olympics, just about any sporting event and even big shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars benefit. ESPN has issued research saying their ratings across the board are up 47 to 50pct every month in HDTV households.

I think the real question of the Olympics isn't "whats the impact of the Internet?" It's "whats the impact on viewing of HDTV ?" If and when NBC releases numbers regarding ratings in HDTV households, I wouldn't be shocked if the numbers are 75 percent higher. People with big, beautiful TVs that they spent a lot of money on, want a reason to watch them. This could go down as the year the Olympics reinvigorated TV.

if programmers understand that people will watch different programs on different platforms, we can stop playing the game of trying to replace TV.

Programmers will create content differently for every platform, from cellphone, even to movies. In the movie world, it's pretty simple to see that big movies, with big special effects look great and sound great in theaters. Same with 3D. That's an experience even a 73" HDTV cant recreate fully.

Events look great on HDTVs, whether they are sports, shows or movies.

Quick hits and short clips are great for the internet. Sure some people will watch shows that perform better on other platforms on the net. We all use what we have available when its our only choice. Which is why so much video consumption online is in the office. Its our only choice.

Replays and breaking news and anything that helps us kill time are what we will use our MIDS, PDAs, and phones for.

The platform is the message from viewers to content providers.

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