The DVR vs Internet Video

The “conventional wisdom” of internet intellectuals is that its a foregone conclusion that the future of content delivery is via the internet. Furthermore, the same internet panel populaters seem to be of the mindset that traditional entertainment and content companies “just dont get it”. History has written that if it can be gotten for free, it should be gotten for free. It’s a given that the next re-make of Planet of the Apes is supposed to end with Taylor looking not at The Statue of Liberty, but an enormous Comcast or DIRECTV logo when he screams they “blew it all to hell”. That major content conglomerates like Viacom, Disney and the like, that depend on traditional TV models are doomed because they just dont understand the new world.

I agree.

Those big companies just don’t get it. Forget the Internet. For some reason they want to kill off the DVR. They think the DVR is the bane of their existence. That because consumers fast forward through commercials, DVRs must be dumbed down, limited in any and every way possible and even eliminated.

To this I reply, “Are you serious?”

Do you not realize that the DVR is the one device that can save all things traditional and holy to your business and stock price? That the DVR is what every internet based TV delivery device or service aims to be when they grow up? That the more powerful and feature rich that you allow DVRs to become, the sooner your customers, the people that pay an average of what, $80 dollars a month to consume your content, will realize that all the capabilities that the internet pundits predict that the future of the internet will offer, are available today for the DVR?

Let me ask a simple question, if everyone had a DVR that could record any and every series they liked, enabling them to watch the shows they missed immediately, why would they go to Hulu ever again ? Lunchtime at work you say ? I respond simply with “slingbox enabled DVR”. Let them stream the shows from their homes. Oh, and one more thing. When they do stream it from home to work, they pay for the bandwidth, not you.

Traditional media should be blasting the cable/telco/sat companies for not adding DVR features and dropping pricing fast enough. Not only should remote internet access to content be a given, but the ability to save shows at “internet quality” and original quality, side by side, should be as well. This would not only improve streaming, but also increase the number of shows that could be saved. I could go on for days with features that could and should be added to DVRs, but I will shortcut this by once again butchering a quote from Charlton Heston, this time from Soylent Green. “Its PCs. DVRs are made out of PCs”. Which means that they can not only be upgraded with features, but if someone where smart and fully opened up Tru2way and added net connectivity, it could be a rich foundation for applications. Anyone got a Charlton Heston quote for the Iphone App store? So what if Netflix (NFLX) does instant streaming to it. Go out and get the same rights and add them to your VOD Offering and create a movie on demand subscription service that you host on the internet or implement when you go IP. The full feature DVR is the killer of all boxes designed to integrate internet video into traditional TV viewing.

If you have gotten this far, you need to wipe away the tears. Yes, advertising dollars could take a hit. Sometimes the business world requires you to make a choice. Call me crazy, but a device that consumers love and further commits them to paying the cable/sat/telco distributors that PAY YOU BILLIONS EVERY YEAR, IS A GOOD THING ! A device that can pre empt whatever threat there might be from over the top video, is a good thing for you. A device that makes people watch MORE traditional TV is a good thing too, right?

I know its tough recognizing that 40pct plus of DVR users want to and will skip through commercials. But do you think if you kill the golden goose and push people to the internet they will be more likely to watch your commercials? No. They won’t.

Its time for you to finally understand the new world of technology and content. You have an amazing technology, the DVR, that has almost tripled its installed based to more than 30pct in just 2 years. DVR users watch 8 hours per month of time shifted TV, which by the way is more than total average consumption of 3 hours of internet video per month. Even kids 18 to 24 watch more video on their DVR than they do on the net ! Don’t you think its worth noting that the number of DVR users is growing faster than the number of video watching internet users? The individual consumption of DVR video far exceeds internet video. More importantly, since most DVR users are cable/telco subscribers, they actually PAY YOU MONEY to do all the above.

Its time you come not to crush the DVR but to praise it.

Photo: gsqi

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About Mark Cuban 144 Articles

Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, billionaire internet entrepreneur, and chairman and owner of the high definition television channel HDNet.

Mark made business history when at the age of 32 he sold his computer consulting firm MicroSolutions to corporate giant CompuServe and became fabulously wealthy overnight. Cuban later did the same with yet another enterprise, the live streaming Internet operation, and sold it to Yahoo! for a record breaking price that pushed his own net worth into the billions.

He publishes his own blog at Blog Maverick where he speaks freely about basketball, technology, business, and the Internet.

Visit: Blog Maverick

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