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Friday, July 22, 2005

Mark Cuban, Mike Homer at "AlwaysOn 2005"

On Wednesday and Thursday, I was at the AlwaysOn conference at Stanford University. From my perspective, two of the best sessions were a "fireside chat" with Mark Cuban, the owner of HDNet, Landmark Theatres, and 2929 Entertainment; and a panel on "The Dislocation of Media and Entertainment," which featured Cuban, Mike Homer of Open Media Network, and execs from Streamcast, DivX, and Yahoo.

Some quick notes from those two sessions:

Mark Cuban: "Hollywood reminds me of NBA general managers. The Number One job is not to win championships. It’s to keep his job."

"[Release] windows have been defined by Hollywood, not by the consumer."

"Why not just release the movies everywhere at the same time, and let the consumers decide how they want to consume them?"

"The Mavs have sold out every game since 2002, yet every game is also on TV. When you create a great experience, people want to get out of the house. They get cabin fever."

"They [the major studios] think they’ve defined the only ways to deliver movies to consumers, and they’re wrong."

"People may pay a premium price for a DVD [on the day of a movie’s release]." Cuban said he was also interested in offering just-released films as an Internet download, or in other clever formats. "I don’t care if you buy a movie and it’s on a keychain, on a flash drive."

On piracy: "You can’t stop it. You’re wasting your time. Put the money into the movie, rather than spending it to stop piracy."

Asking people not to pirate content, Cuban said, is like trying to tell "a 12-year old boy he’s gonna go blind."

Moderator Roger McNamee asked the panelists at one point what business they'd go into if they couldn't do what they're doing. Mike Homer said he'd go into producing content. “You get frustrated with the innovation and the creativity of any traditional media producer, their unwillingness to play."

Some notes to come from my interview with Mark Cuban (I may also post the recording as a podcast), and also a conversation I had with George Gilder about Hollywood.