Cuban Sees Continuing Small Role For Web Video

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Video on the Web "has been a real disappointment" and American will continue to do the vast majority of their viewing on TV sets -- especially high-definition and future 3D equipment, Mark Cuban said at The Wall Street Journal's "D7: All Things Digital" conference.

"Video on the Internet has become a testing ground for media that actually have revenues," said the maverick Web video pioneer, who made billions when he sold his Broadcast.com service to Yahoo a decade ago.

Cuban cited a show called "Svetlana" that his company is developing for his HD-Net channel. He said that it is being tested on the "FunnyOrDie.com" website. The pilot episode, about "a day in the life of our favorite Russian whore/political consultant,' has been running there since April.

"Cable TV networks are alive and well bec use they have a basis of sustainability. They are not going to [trade] digital dollars for [online] nickels," he said. He characterized the stand-out Web videos as "one-off hits," which, given the glut of online videos, is a dismal record, even compared to the large number of failed TV shows.

Cuban did express hope for the prospects of tru2Way, the cable broadband platform, citing its open features, including the use of Java.

"That is really where the bandwidth is," he said, but snarkily added, "I don't want to call it completely ‘open' because it is a cable platform."

"I'm in favor of tiered pricing for cable networks," Cuban said. In response to a query from Multichannel News, he said that "3D has a great future, adding that "3D will be a bigger part" of the programming lineup. Cuban, attired in a Dallas Mavericks T-shirt (the most casual clothing of any speaker at this notoriously casual event. albeit a calling card for the National Basketball Association team he owns) pointed out that video reception equipment keeps getting "bigger, better and cheaper," which he said supports his perception of the continuing importance of conventional TV.

To another question about the future of broadcast TV, he suggested that the government should sell off all of the over-the-air broadcast spectrum.

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