The Future of Video on the Internet

Henry Blodget and others have been arguing about the future of TV. I thought I would add my argument about the future of video on the internet. This is taken from an interview in VideoMaker Magazine.

From 1999

by Larry Lemm
November 1999

This last Spring, Yahoo!, the Internet portal, paid about $5 billion worth of stock to acquire, a streaming video company. This transaction solidified streaming video as a technology not only to watch in the future, but as a technology to use today. Mark Cuban, a founder of Internet video portal, is very hopeful about the opportunities this technology opens.

Videomaker: What is and what do you offer fledgling video distributors?

Cuban:’s mission is to turn the Internet into a broadcast medium. We are much like the DirecTV of the Internet. We have put together the technology, infrastructure and software, and have aggregated content in order to aggregate audience. With this base, we offer content creators the ability to put their products of all kinds in front of an audience at a minimal cost.

Videomaker: Recently, I believe you made the statement “eventually most of the streaming video that people will see on the Internet will be home videos.” Why do you think that is true?

Cuban: Only because of sheer numbers. It will be so easy to present video to small audiences. Instead of the summer vacation or wedding video sitting on the shelf, we will post them on our family web sites so that grandma and grandpa can watch whenever they want. We will do the same with high schools posting their games, debates and school plays.

It will be far more convenient than corralling everyone into the family room or making copies of the tape to send everywhere. When you add up the numbers, a couple of hours from a lot of families dwarf the total amount of content created by traditional producers.

Videomaker: When do you think we’ll see this shift in focus from commercial video to personal video on the net?

Cuban: Over the next two years, as people get cable modems and DSL lines, they will start to put pictures, then videos up. All you have to do is look at the new Sony PCs with IEEE 1394 i.LINK interfaces to see how easy it will be. Soon all PCs will have these interfaces and the floodgates will open.

Videomaker: What opportunities do you think this will present to videographers, Webmasters and advertisers?

Cuban: There are two elements here, true businesses and labors of love. The labors of love that are non-commercial, will thrive. People will create their own El Mariachi-type productions for the ego gratification and some will get discovered and go on to bigger and better things.

For businesses, there will always be a place for quality production. The quantity of home video will almost be equaled by the quantity of corporate video. These businesses will need top-notch production services for Internet and Intranet video. Every new product, shareholders meeting, new building and maybe even new employee will have some video component that will be hosted by the company. Webmasters will have to know how video on the Internet works and have partnerships in place to host and promote content that will reach outside the corporation.

For advertisers, the realization should set in very quickly that the Internet world is no longer flat. That banners to catch people’s attention will diminish in effectiveness and video and other multidimensional elements, from animation to future media types will take their place. The agencies and advertisers that learn to harness this ability, particularly in a broadband world, will get far better results

Videomaker: What will do to support this trend?

Cuban: We will continue to build our infrastructure to support the largest possible audience. We currently are pushing out broadband video at 700k, 30 frames per second. We will continue to push the envelope of technology, working with advertisers to introduce broadband video ads on our site, Media Asset Management partners such as ISLIP technology and with digital distribution opportunities as well.

Videomaker: Do you think that streaming video will begin to rival television as the video delivery medium of choice?

Cuban: I think that in the next five to ten years you won’t be able distinguish between the two. Think of it this way: ordinary cable TV is just a video monitor attached to a dumb computer (a set-top box), connected to a cable that goes to a network. The problem is that it’s mostly analog and doesn’t scale or do anything else. My personal thought is that a Pentium computer will replace the set-top box. It will have a DVD player, HDTV decoder, wireless keyboard, analog TV tuner, IEEE 1394 and USB connectivity. It will have a hard drive for a personal TV recorder and high-speed Internet access via an Ethernet connection out to a cable modem or ADSL line. And it will connect to a TV or PC monitor or both. Most importantly it will look like a DVD player instead of an ugly beige PC so we won’t be afraid to put it on top of the TV in the living room. All of this will become available for under $1500, starting by Christmas in small quantities, quickly dropping to under $1k next year. With one of these in the bedroom and living room, you won’t care if what you are watching comes from a traditional TV station over cable or from over your Internet connection. You will just hit a button on the remote and go back to eating popcorn.

Videomaker: What is the most important thing a home videographer can do to get ready to stream video?

Cuban: Play with it. The more you know, the more you can try. You can go to or and find out what you need to digitize your creations. Once you have learned to digitize, you can get low-cost hosting space on sites like and upload.

Videomaker: Where do you think the future of Internet video is headed?

Cuban: All media used to be defined by its spectrum or physical form. You had a TV channel. You had a tape. Now all media is going digital. In a digital world, media can be stored on any digital platform, from a hard drive to a personal digital recorder. Or it can be transported on any digital medium from digital cable to DTV, to dialup over AOL. Because digital transport, like the Internet is becoming more available and less expensive, I think we will see digital video content becoming far more available where we want it, how we want it. This is both good news and bad news for the video business. It means there will always be an outlet for your work and that there will always be production demand. But because everyone has access, there will be far more competition to be seen.

Videomaker: What do you think will be the biggest innovation for streaming video in the next year?

Cuban: Falling bandwidth prices. More bandwidth to the office and home means more choice and opportunity.

41 thoughts on “The Future of Video on the Internet

  1. It means more freedom and tools for expressing your creativity which is good, the economy of knowledge gaining its momentum faster! I believe the access to key people form most of industries will be much easier, a new type of TV programmes may somewhat look like this video interview

    Comment by Alex Zakharin -

  2. Seriously Powerful stuff right here. Great insights into using video and I will be taking lots of notes of course. I make tons of videos and love the process of getting out there. It is a pleasure for me to come across such professional and powerful info.

    Greatly appreciated dude!


    Comment by GregDeTisi -

  3. seems like bandwidth prices are going to keep coming down. Combine that with bandwidth becoming more widely available I can see why people will be watching/creating/upload more videos.

    Comment by outdoormagazines -

  4. Woooo Chris Kaman! Why wait until 2013 to throw a victory parade? Throw it now after this signing…

    Comment by Adam Pritchard -

  5. Sadly, my thoughts are downtrodden and wayward.

    Comment by Nat -

  6. video is probably the future of the Internet, as technologies like fiber-optic become more widely available, people are going to be able to watch a lot more video.

    Comment by shinglesqa -

  7. Pingback: Back in 1999 This Was Mark Cuban Vision For Video on The Internet |

  8. Spot on for back in the day…. I’d like to know your thoughts on the future on standard business directories . Mate of Mine

    Comment by Mate of Mine (@mateofmine) -

  9. You’re a true visionary, Mark!

    Comment by Alexander Huynh (@SharkSoul) -

  10. I think this is a testament to why Mr. Cuban is so successful and will continue to be in the future. His insight and overall business prowess is shining through as always. True visionary.

    ** I am also an Entrepreneur and a visionary. At 25 years old I am a business owner but there is always room for improvement. I would love to share stories and advice with other executives, from CEO’s and anyone who is confident with the business knowledge**

    E-Mail Me:

    Comment by Matt Yassen -

  11. great, Cuban is clairvoyant.

    Comment by admin -

  12. All about being at the right place and the right time. Luck and hard work go a long way!

    Comment by resumebuilderonline -

  13. Reblogged this on Articulo Communication Services and commented:
    He’s a visionary!

    Comment by cocoandgrace -

  14. Mark, we think alike, I too am a forward thinker, projecting 5 years… i really loved your book, ‘How to Win at the Sport of Business…” can’t wait to meet you.

    Comment by Mike Altieri (@MichaelAltieri) -

  15. Impressive. Good read. On another note, what wasn’t impressive was when i went to watch Shark Tank on “on-demand” last night, only to find out it was 1hr 36 mins on a show called “Duets”. Such a let down.. ;/

    Comment by Derek Day (@dday0530) -

  16. Definitely to look forward to in the future.

    Comment by Indiscerniblegeek -

  17. The future of TV is dynamic. AD spending even for the lesser of the notable channels, and in particular the old school alphabet, have solid numbers. Entrenched AD budgets are always in play just before the Up Fronts, then fall off shortly after, with no more than an 8% change in distribution of revenue. Gaining a piece of the advertising and brand awareness campaigns is difficult but not impossible, and many digital only have joined the ranks offering discount rates for net and mobile video delivery.

    The technology that will change film, sport, education and all form of storytelling will be the expansion of 3D and Augmented Reality enhanced Film, games, education and communications delivered marker free via an Active RFID. WIFI bridge that used the generous proximity radius to initiate a handshake with a smart device to initialize opt-in delivery and purchase of data determined through user social profile, subscription or on the fly purchase.

    The interesting thing about the old school well respected, standards heavy, DRM capable Active RFID, is just how much it will help the latest technologies for digital delivery stabilize and grow market share. Like it or not, what has always been a TV driven market now offers a third wind, to the print industry. At least the division of the print industry that has established itself as a reliable partner with security strength accepted by government, military, and business entities on a global basis. 3D & AR are seen as gimmicks by many, Fortunately that word, ” many, ” is shrinking as fast as the delivery methods for mobile, net, terrestrial and atmospheric content take shape.

    So the future of TV, is in play, and secure. However don’t blink because the benchmarks established decades ago by the tube, are changing at the speed a burst downloaded Netflix video will have as the subscriber walks past the empty space once reserved for the Red Box.

    Or the Mayans might be right, in which case I say don’t throw away those hardcover encased paper printed gems or candles.

    Comment by 2dpopout -

  18. Pingback: MARK CUBAN: This Is The Future of Video On The Internet | Another

  19. I’m actually surprised streaming hasn’t advanced more. Right now, I have a logitech revue with google tv that allows me to stream tv from netflix, amazon, hbo go etc I can also download movies and tv show torrents and stream wirelessly to my tv now which is awesome. I think in a few years we’ll be able to cut out the cable box completely but the only reason I still have it is so I can watch my Lakers beat down the Mavs 🙂 haha

    In all seriousness though, how hard would it be to start a streaming service that streamed all live sporting events??

    Comment by PF Pro (@PFPro1) -

  20. Great interview. Where’s my Pentium set-top box? YOU PROMISED!

    jim louderback

    Comment by jlouderb -

  21. Pingback: SVG Lunchtime Links 6-8-12 : Sports Video Group

  22. As a blogger and a freelance writer, video is a preferred media in terms of Google Search Engine Optimization and as I write articles, the added video boosts reader and viewer engagement of my written work. Even with Facebook, in their timelines they have trending articles and trending videos of your network of friends. The only issue I have with it, is that my FB friends have terrible taste in content and so I’m sick of seeing their crap. (I think I need new friends). Anyway, as you wrote about mobile and now of course video, I don’t think it will replace multi-million dollar productions but will become more targeted and accessible.
    The fact of the matter is, on the Internet, many people learn best by video. Education as you mentioned in previous blog posts about non-traditional colleges and universities need to do a better job at engaging and educating via video. I actually think even public high school education would benefit from video learning in sort of the same concept as the Texas Virtual School Network ( Imagine the cost savings if we didn’t have to pay for the externalities totally unrelated to educating our children such as school buses, school lunch, facilities, utilities etc. Not to mention the concerns about overcrowding. Sorry,seems I went off on a tangent here but you get my point.

    Comment by Heather Buen (@dallassinglemom) -

  23. Mark, you’re a TRUE V.I.S.I.O.N.A.R.Y – The only piece missing here is that the multimedia networks will converge with mobile, social to produce a truly INTERACTIVE MEDIA EXPERIENCE using LEDs that will have lenticular technology for Glasses-Free 3D and touch screen capabilities. Oh, and of course Augmented Reality is here to stay!

    Comment by Adrian Hernandez (@adrianmobile) -

  24. Reblogged this on txwikinger's blog.

    Comment by txwikinger -

  25. Cuban is clairvoyant.

    Comment by Bud Ramey -

  26. I love it when you post old stuff – on this subject in particular, you were spot on. Do you have any old articles or interviews where you totally missed?

    Comment by Rich Graham (@biggerfish) -

  27. Mark amazing how right you were in 1999 ! That’s why you rock on Shark Tank

    Comment by Ramon Ray (@ramonray) -

  28. Isn’t this vision exactly what Apple TV is working to achieve?

    Comment by Sanford Gray Thatcher -

  29. Love this, look back… into the future. I’m a forward thinker, but not yet to the degree of legends, such as Mark. Yall do realize he IS going to be known as that, don’t you?

    Comment by KT Banks -

  30. Cuban – Incredibly prescient thinking. More surprising that it took so long for the digital wave to really catch on. Continuing on the discussion of disrupting old media business models, what are your thoughts on Aereo?

    Comment by Martin Lerda (@martinlerda) -

  31. This is the future. Its unfortunate that Yahoo yanked, if they had left it as a stand alone property and charge a subscription fee for users to create their own channels then perhaps they would be more profitable by now and their market value would be much higher, can Mr Maverick buy it back and create an online network? Just a thought.

    Comment by kenyaTV (@KenyaWebTV) -

  32. lots of insight here, though i would like to emphasize the one big problem: spectrum policy, and the bandwidth crunch that is resulting. already wifi in nyc south of 14th st is a disaster. there are various ways we can try to work around it, and i’m sure such solutions will be concocted, but the only real long-term fix is spectrum de-regulation. if we don’t get the spectrum problem fixed, i doubt we’ll have the bandwidth needed to service significantly greater levels of digital video transmission.

    Comment by kidmercury (@kidmercury) -

  33. So Mark was right in his vision, but I disagree with a certain aspect of this vision.

    I DON’T WANT television commercials based on my google habits or the regular sites I visit on the internet.

    If television is eventually defeated and converted into a buffered computer signal, then all television channel surfing and viewing habits will be documented and used to cater to us, and possibly even used against us by the government, (accused of a crime, lets check their viewing habits to prove prior knowledge and intent) and I find that somewhat creepy.

    Comment by alexlogic -

  34. Mark you’re exactly right. I recently created a completely video based website that teaches people how to invest like Warren Buffett (, and this stuff is the future. I’m a firm believer in personal video content driving the future of tv. Great post!

    Comment by prestonpysh -

  35. Nice work Mark, good foresight!

    Comment by Matt Levy -

  36. Pretty, pretty Nostradamus-esque! Love your posts…looking forward to next years Shark Tank!

    Comment by Bob Davidson -

  37. What do you think about the *live* streaming of home video? There are currently some services like that allow for those (although most of the streams are just from someone’s computer screen), but it’s still not economically feasible for a business or consumer to set up a stream on their own server. If you wanted to live stream from a location not directly through your computer, it’s also going to be expensive to get started doing that. Is this an area that you could see the prices falling enough where live streaming video could follow the same path?

    Comment by Aaronm14 (@Aaronm14) -

  38. My article from 1999 CED Magazine as well with thoughts on Internet and video

    Comment by Herb Lair (@herb5247) -

  39. seems you had some good insight from way back when, Kudos. We own and operate a streaming video company now. I’d love to do similar to vevo, let the artists make more money by controlling where the content appears, which allows you to make money off the eyeballs. Automated DMCA and other takedown notices, so that the only places streaming your content are allowed to do so, because they use your player, with the ads in it.

    Comment by Brad Holmes -

  40. I definitely believe that the internet is the future of video and TV as know it. And the great thing about it like you said is that it levels the playing field for everyone. Gone are the times that only shows and movies with million dollar budgets will be able to thrive. It is definitely going to be cool to see how this develops!


    Comment by Mobile App Tycoon (@MobileAppTycoon) -

  41. Kind of leveling the creative playing field. You no longer will have to be part of NYC or Hollywood. Isn’t this how TV is now? So many channels and hardly anything on…except Shark Tank! Love it.

    Comment by Fierce Over 40; From Fat and Broke to Fit and Fabulous Over 40 -

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