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NATPE 2013: Mark Cuban Makes the Case for Old-Fashioned TV Variety

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and chairman of hi-def cable network AXS TV, launched the annual conference of the National Association of Television Program Executives in Miami with a defense of the traditional television model, Cynthia Littleton writes in Variety.

“Ever the nonconformist, Mark Cuban opened the NATPE confab by extolling the virtues of old-fashioned live TV, questioning the long-term viability of over-the-top services and defending cable's traditional bundling model,” Littleton writes.

Appearing Monday at a high-profile Q&A session with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Cuban said television maintains a big advantage over the Internet in video and as a driver of social media. Cuban has been making a similar argument for some time on his blog at blogmaverick.com.

Said Cuban: "The Internet is designed for everything but video. Television has become the medium for starting the social conversation that more people participate in than any other medium."

“He asserted that even programming that runs in the middle of the night on niche cable nets with no promotion typically draws more viewers than much of the video content on the Internet,” Littleton writes. “Cuban said the interest in driving second-screen activity is why his AXS TV emphasizes live events like concerts.”

Cuban sees an uphill battle for Internet providers of OTT, or over-the-top, services -- video, essentially -- as they compete with cable and satellite providers.

"When you have unlimited choice you also have unlimited expense ... in trying to get your content to come to the front," he said. "YouTube spent all that money to get content. They don't know what's going to work."

Cuban also noted: "Views on VOD are growing faster than on YouTube.”

Littleton adds: “Cuban thinks consumers will continue to pay their cable/satellite bills even with rising costs because it's simply easier.”

Cuban said a shift to an a la carte model would "kill television," Littleton notes.

Said Cuban: "People like bundles. They don't want to have to work to get their entertainment.”

Mark-Cuban.jpgMark Cuban