I hope you are following the very vibrant debate that’s been taking place over the last week, involving Boxee CEO Avner Ronen, Chairman of HDNet Mark Cuban and a host of other people about the relationship between free online video and the programming available from multichannel video distributers, such as cable, satellite and phone companies.
It all started with this Contentinople article, quoting Ronen: “Cable companies have been fighting cable à la carte for years in Washington, but I think consumers will prevail online.” Then Cuban responded on his blog: Why Do Internet People Think Content People Are Stupid ? He argued that it doesn’t make sense to disrupt cable’s current business model. He then followed up by noting the impact if the “a la carte” model was applied to Internet content.
Then the whole discussion took off. Here are just a few of the relevant links:
- Cable TV is Screwd [Post from Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback, formerly of the cable network TechTV]
- a lively debate with mark cuban [Avner Ronen responds on Boxee's blog]
- Some Questions & Thoughts re Internet Video vs the Incumbents [Cuban follows up with another post]
- Mark Cuban debates Boxee founder [Blog post from Michael Willner]
- Mark Cuban Declares War On Free TV Online… But Misses Out On The Economics [Mike Masnick at TechDirt argues that charging for online content is "a dead-end model"]
- The Cuban Files: Taking On Boxee & Business Models [To close the circle, Contentinople's R. Scott Raynovich weighs in]
One notices some common themes of those arguing that cable programming ought to be available online either free or in an a la carte fashion. There’s a general theme that all content must inevitable be available on the Internet in this fashion. Typically, what consumers want is held up as the Golden Rule. I’m no expert, but I don’t think that Masnick’s economic analysis makes too much sense.
Anyway, take a look for yourself.