Online Video is Irrelevant

The headline is a quote by Mark Cuban, who is very rich. The full quote, as captured by Adam Kleinberg in last week’s Videonomics event in Dallas Cowboys stadium, is: “Online video is irrelevant. The top videos most days on YouTube get 250-750k views. If you got that kind of traffic on TV, you’d be a huge failure.” 

Before I comment on Mark’s thoughts, I gotta say… I love Adam’s post for three reasons:

  1. He references me before Mark Cuban.
  2. He captured the quote I was too lazy to write down.
  3. Adam let me kiss him on the head, and he’s like a human teddy bear. I told him I almost want to go back to a big company just to hire his agency, If you know anyone from Studio Lambert, tell them to get Traction Co on The Pitch (AMC) NOW.

I did get a photo of Mark Cuban and me, but nobody seems to care as much as I might have thought. Only 5% of the people I know seem to recognize him, and only 14% of that segment seem mildly impressed that I arm wrestled him. Some were more impressed that he’s on Shark Tank than the fact that he sold for 55 billion.

Mark Cuban arm wrestling me

And now to the point (you buried your lead again, Nalts): Mark Cuban’s point was that the view count of “YouTube’s most viewed videos of the day” pales against television-show viewership. He’s got two reasons, the first is that YouTube most-viewed daily videos sometimes don’t often more than a few hundred thousand views. Second, the views are brief relative to viewing durations of Shark Tank, which Mark says is the show most watched by entire families. Mark appears on that show.

What Mark didn’t point out is that the most-viewed YouTubers (top 50-100) typically have daily views that exceed top television shows. Annoying Orange or Ray William Johnson get 10x the daily views of many network shows. They are, in effect, small networks. Sure the views are minutes not 30 or 60 minutes. And they’re less monatized. Furthermore, here’s another little secret for Mark. Sometimes a creator’s “daily views” are not, in fact, driven by their most recent video — a creator’s daily views are often driven by the cumulative views of the creator’s collection. (For instance, my recent videos tend to be viewed a mere fraction of the total daily views I have; the latter number is driven by a few older videos, like “Scary Maze” or “I Are Cute Kitten,” that continue to accumulate views).

During last week’s Videonomics event, Mark invited people to challenge him, but I declined because… this is all a moot point. Why? For starters, advertisers want eyeballs, and they don’t generally care if they bought 100 ads on 100 YouTube videos or 5 ads on 5 television shows.

They want targeted reach with spending efficiency.

Period. Advertisers also need scale, and if media fragments so too will their media spend. Most studies show that online-video advertising growth will come at the expense of television advertising in years ahead… but eventually these budgets won’t be separate. That brings me to my second point… in the next 4-8 years we won’t really discern between online video, cable TV, mobile and television. It’ll all be video, and the long and short tail will both matter to advertisers.

(Whether Mark Cuban says so or not).

P.S. I let him win in arm wrestling.

16 Replies to “Online Video is Irrelevant”

  1. For a guy that built and sold a website that was (in essence) a new form of online media at the time, Mark Cuban sure doesn’t know anything about the growing potential of online videos.

    If this opportunity to make online videos and profit from them came from his brain first, in other words before YouTube, I’ll bet you anything he would’ve done all he could to learn about it, see the money making potential and opportunities available, and then exploit them. Just like he did with

    What amazes me even more is that this incarnation of Mark Cuban challenged people in his audience to “prove him wrong” with what he said. It’s already being proven wrong just by the sheer fact that YouTube is quickly becoming THE place to find new forms of entertainment and talent.

    Yes most of the videos are no longer than 5 minutes but the fact that the overall numbers rival most major network shows is astounding and something that should be watched closely. Back in 2006, no one would’ve imagined that in less than a decade that many YouTube video views rival many network shows and that the content creators would become famous because of it.

    Who knows?

    Maybe in the next few years, we’ll see YouTube videos views that will end up being GREATER than their network “counterparts.” And a whole lot more talent will be coming from the ranks of the YouTube generation.

    As for the photo of you arm wrestling Mark Cuban, I did recognize him. Not because he’s on TV or he owns the Dallas Mavericks or anything like that. I remember him because he did something no one else had done and made his fortune from it. For him to now criticize the potential and growth of what is becoming the new wave of online media is severely short-sighted and somewhat hypocritical of him.

    He was once an innovator and a visionary of the online world’s potential. Now he just seems outdated and out of touch. I guess several billion dollars will do that to people.

  2. hmmm… I don’t know where online video will end up I’m busy right now watching economies crash around the world.

    but I think advertising will change – how – depends what happens between now and next year.

    I’ve pretty much used the three year model, prior to that it was the 5 year model – now every year there’s seems to be a big adjustment –

    very little to rely on these days and so few people to trust – especially in big business and government.

    Inflation and low interest rates are the new tax and we’re fast approaching the point where a lottery ticket is a good investment.

    so views… – well I’m willing to wait for the DVD and get it free at the library –

    in regards to youtube and all the other new video sites popping up or in development – I scape all the ads HOWEVER if someone asks me to support them by clicking an ad I’ll unblock them – or better yet put a donate button up and I drop a few in there

    but that’s just me.

    say, if anyone is interested and has the energy – I’d like to see if more people are into this idea leave you thoughts if you have the time.

    btw, I’m liquid and almost packed

  3. @Peter/Journeysoflifevlogs
    if I had several billion do you think I’d care if you thought I was outdated and out of touch?


    I don’t know why these super duper wealthy people don’t fix the world – least try something new and unique –

    and our so called leaders allow the banks and corporations to own our politicians and tear down people’s lives and the environment –

    it makes me wonder, does one grow to hate the little people when one gets that much paper?

    what’s the psychology behind all that wealth?

    how much does one person need to live well and yet hoard all that wealth?

    I’d be willing to write a report first hand if anyone is interested 😉

  4. quote of the day

    ‏@TheDailyShow Overheard at Facebook HQ: “Twenty-nine dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Thirty-eight dollars.”

  5. I was impressed you met mark cuban until I read this post and saw you spelled monetized ‘monezited’. Then I just felt sorry for you.

  6. First, I’m never going to wash my head again.

    Second, I dont think Mark is clueless about the relevance of online video at all. I think he enjoys being contrarian because folks like you, me and the Wall Street Journal write blog posts and articles when he says provocative shit. And clearly the man gets his press.


  7. Kevin,

    Have you ever watched Mark Cuban on Shark Tank? He’s an obnoxious asshole, who steals peoples’ ideas by bullying them into selling them to him for nothing. His fellow Shark Tank colleagues think he’s a douche bag, as do most of the Mavericks who play for him. What other franchise owner (other than Jerry Jones) grabs the winning trophy from a PLAYER and walks around like HE earned it? Cuban may be rich, but he’ll die alone with no friends. I’d rather not have money, and have class, than be anything like him.

  8. @Kev’s Sister oh man oh man, I know exactly what you mean, I knew someone just like that (and no, it’s not you Kevin), it breaks your heart, and there’s little you can do unless you want to litigate and one of the worst things in life is litigation.

    What these vampires do is crush the spirit, they make their fellow man/citizen never wanting to share or create anything again, and that makes people dull, less involved and ultimately lack curiosity. Not good for civilization.

    That level of greed and arrogance is really super insecurity and such a high level of insecurity is what makes them assholes and borderline psychopaths. What they truly lack is a sense of gratitude and without a sense of gratitude all that’s left to build on is greed.

    Instead of making the world a better place they make it uglier – it’s a refection of their soul; anything that comes across as good is only a veneer that covers the rotting underneath.

    I don’t know if such people will die alone; they can certainly pay for companionship, but what they leave behind will be ravaged. — Charles Dickens depicted this in the character of Scrooge; when Scrooge saw himself the day after his death and the common folk in their pettiness took all his belongings. What these people attract and inspire are vultures. In the animal world they would be akin to the hyena; strong and powerful, but in their gate lacking any reverence or class.

    Whether or not they even care about any of that, one thing is certain they contribute nothing worthwhile. Best to avoid or better yet, regulate them for the protection of others.

  9. Online video is not irrelevant for small businesses who cannot afford TV spots but can now offer engaging online video to connect to their target market and promote their products and services

  10. Sigh, Mark Cuban has a long history of bashing YouTube… I remember him saying even more venomous stuff back in 2006.
    He’s been always proven wrong thus far, no need to listen to him now.

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