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Mark Cuban's Advice To Fox & MySpace On Selling Content: Yes, You Can

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Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and cofounder of HDNet, offers running commentary on Blog Maverick and allows us to publish it here when the subject fits.

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7 Responses to “Mark Cuban's Advice To Fox & MySpace On Selling Content: Yes, You Can”

  1. joe johnson

    Nobody is going to pay for content, especially news, on the internet because we'll find it for free somewhere else. There is more music traded on the internet now than anytime in the past and most of it is spite because the RIAA acted like a bunch of dicks. Whatever Cuban, you got your money already anyway, but the net is freedom, freedom for the masses and you can't do a thing to stop it. hahahahahahaha

  2. frode —
    "Big Brains" make very poor decisions all the time — Cerebus buying Chrysler for instance.

    1.) Blocking "leech" sites is fool-hardy.
    2.) Payments have been around the Internet since day 1.
    The payments only work in key areas
    — The newspaper business is based on subscriptions to cover printing expenses — so papers are break-even.

    Cuban's advice is me-tooish, and avoids major issues that I mentioned in my initial post — there are already free sources of information that will provide quality information regardless of the economics (NPR, BBC, ProPublica).

    There are internet only reporting orgs — HuffPo, Politico, that are past break-even.

    Beyond many large orgs will not go pay, via game theory and expand and morph into Huffpo-Politico etc. model of operation.

    The "brilliant and prescient" is just basic and vanilla; however, what is worse is that Cuban has not dealt with any of the obvious negatives of his mentioned strategy.

  3. Anyone that follows Mr. Cuban's investments in software and content companies knows he is one of the biggest brains in the business.

    He has also been advocating quality paid content for years.

    There are two huge ideas in this post. 1) blocking leech sites that add no value, and 2) finally owning that "payment" is a very large part of any product or service.

    1) The internet has been with us for some time now, yet VCs and entrepreneurs alike are still obssessed with the "coefficient of free" distribution. Admittedly, this makes the economics of software development, investing, and distribution dead simple, but as Cuban notes here, it's the skillful use of friction that will shape the future.

    2) In the lust for friction free distribution and fame (there are few profits), the assumption is that's all there is. I'm not a huge fan of chasm theory, but if you accept payment is part of a real business ( how stupid does that sounds?) then payment becomes part of the "whole product".

    It wasn't enough that GM made terribly designed cars with zero reliability, their car-buying experience pure torture. To consider the alternative, look at the power of Penske Automotive. Penske has state of the art dealerships nationwide that make car-buying fun, and a celebration of the second largest capital expense most people ever make. This positive payment experience worked so well for Penske, that he actually bought Saturn from GM in bankruptcy.

    Cuban is advising that Newscorp hire some of its best customers in each segment served, and make them CPOs (Chief Payment Officers). CPOs would then be responsible for the implicit and explicit constraints that are applied to unique patterns of user-experience tailored to each demographic.

    Cuban's advice is brilliant and his warnings prescient:

    "The hard part, as it always is for big, publicly traded conglomerates is to align all of their business units to a common goal. "

    Portals that succeed in providing a thriving ecology of mass-customized user and payment experiences will be hugely successful and profitable.

    Those that cling slavishly to the perceived economies of scale, simplicity, and efficiency (i.e., platform-itis) will not.


  4. Bombtune

    I disagree.

    The best way to monetize Myspace is to create a Myspace music jukebox, yes, like an iTunes. The jukebox will enable both streams and downloads and allow fans more easily to scroll through photos and music videos. The jukebox would essentially be an app but for the PC.

    The difference between a jukebox and a web-browser in addition to being a much cleaner experience is that a jukebox better grabs the user's attention. It's a program, and although it takes some convincing and training, Myspace has enough unique users that would download it to simplify their Myspace needs. In fact, I would start with the Myspace music mobile app and then simply take those registered users online with th PC app.

    Myspace has a lot of legroom given its popularity for new music discovery and communication with artists. But the only way to save it is to keep the people that visit it every day. This is why I suggest for Myspace top build something entirely new that aggregates information and enables on-demand music.

  5. While what Mr. Cuban said is interesting, none of it is unique material, with the exception of buying rights in perpatuity to music.

    Also, I think he misses the fact that their are free sources of information that will always be available and will thrive if WSJ, NYT and the majors engaged in the sort of collusion Cuban suggests.

    BBC, NPR, all of which are both free and publicly supported.

    ProPublica another non-profit.

    HuffingtonPost, TalkingPointsMemo, and Politico that are in verticals and already at break-even + on free models


    As far as music goes, Cuban presents a rather uninformed take on music as you suggest Amanda — worse he doesn't mention the fact that Murdoch's son ran Rawkus for years — a pretty highly regarded Hip-Hop Label (even though it was not profitable). … that leads me to believe he really hasn't looked at Murdoch's empire that closely.

  6. The thought of musicians selling their music to Murdoch for a one-time payment…so Murdoch can profit from their creativity…not sure that's a particularly ethical stance re: copyright etc. Not sure many musicians would happily hand over the rights to their creative output, especially to someone like Murdoch.