Saturday, February 07, 2009

Mark Cuban on Internet Video

Mark Cuban wrote an interesting post on his blog: The Great Internet Video Lie

Let me quote briefly:
So what are your options [if you want to stream video to many people] ? You have a single option. You have to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs specialize in delivering content that needs to scale to large numbers, and 10k simultaneous users, particularly if its sustained for any period of time, like a cable network would be, is considered a large number.

If you have dreams of competing with traditional TV network viewing numbers using the internet, dream on. You cant afford it. You have been sucker punched by the Great Internet Lie.

I find this very interesting considering the fact that a couple of months ago I talked with some guys who are working on a startup that enables just this, at basically no more cost than streaming a single copy of the video. The technology seemed very feasible - I think it could very well work.

I just found it interesting that Cuban believes this is a great limiter - he's no newbie to technology. At first I thought his post was naive But as I started to write this I realized he's a lot smarter than that. I just wonder what he's got up his sleeve.

I know that the guys I talked to have a good idea and are running with it. But there are others out there, probably smarter, with good ideas of their own. Finding a software solution to the bandwidth problem is just a matter of time - and there's a lot of money at stake.

Ironically, a software solution that enables efficient small-scale video streaming, allowing small players to reach a wide audience at low (no?) cost... it's a threat to the CDN's. It's also a threat to the media companies.

Cost keeps the small guys out of video streaming, and the media companies like it like that.

I'm not pushing a conspiracy theory or anything, I just imagine that a solution to this problem is a threat and the players with money and interests will do a lot to protect their interests. I imagine there'll be legislation (like DMCA, copyright), patent lawsuits, lack of net neutrality.

Of course, a disruptive technology doesn't mean the little guys will have anything worth watching.

Note: I chose not to work with the start-up for a variety of reasons. But the technology does seem solid, and they seemed to be working toward the right connections. I wish them the best.

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