Live television is more vital a platform than digital and new media, said Mark Cuban during a session on the opening day of the 50th anniversary NATPE/Content First conference. “The Internet is designed for everything but video. Television is designed for video,” Cuban said this morning in his keynote speech, moderated by CNN’s Poppy Harlow, during which he staked his ground in television over YouTube, smart TV and other emerging platforms and emphasized the growing role of “social television”.
Cuban argued that the immediacy of television is key to its significance in an age of increasingly prevalent real-time digital interaction, despite new media success stories like Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video, which hit 1 billion views in December and generated $8 million in revenue. “Television, because it has zero latency, has become the starting point for conversations,” Cuban said. He re-branded HDNet to AXS (pronounced “access”) last summer to emphasize the kind of live programming and events that he says drives social-media conversations, like televised live concerts with AEG and prospective partner LiveNation.
But cable TV’s social media cache also works the other way around. In order to lure in the younger generation of “Cable-Nevers” who grew up streaming media and don’t pay for cable, Cuban said, must-see and event programming is the key to making cable TV a prerequisite for joining the dialogue. “If you want to watch that Tiesto concert, or the Skrillex concert… or the Jay-Z concert live on AXS TV, you’ve got to get cable. If you want to be part of the conversation that all your friends with cable are part of on [social media], you’ve got to have cable.”
Smart TV platforms and apps are also struggling to find a footing because they’re too complicated to use particularly for adults, according to Cuban. “When you make someone work to find their television, that’s what doesn’t work.”
Watch the entire Cuban chat below: