Mark Cuban on user generated content: Bad for ads, great for (my) free biz dev

Mark Cuban said a lot more than beware YouTube “morons” at his Advertising Week keynote last week in New York City, I know because I was there.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

Mark Cuban said a lot more than beware YouTube “morons” at his Advertising Week keynote last week in New York City, I know because I was there.

I asked Cuban if his inflammatory anti YouTube commentary was designed to enhance the value of his own content businesses, as I recount in “Mark Cuban: HDNet, YouTube, Mavericks and the art of calculated hype”:

During the Q & A, I asked Cuban the following:

You began your talk by indicating you purposefully made provocative comments last season about an opposing sports team to build your Mavericks' value. Are the provocative comments you made about YouTube this morning designed to build the value of your HDNet?

Cuban responded by restating his case for why YouTube “so reminds me of the early days of Napster.”

Cuban’s colorful keynote commentary shed light on the shrewd business development tactics behind the success of his diverse enterprises, often at others’ expense.

Cuban’s Blog Maverick recently posted an open call for free business development advice for his Landmark Theatres business, as I discuss in “Mark Cuban does ‘The Apprentice’, low-cost version”:

This is an open challenge. You come up with a solution, you get a job. Seriously.

This is the problem that consumes me more than what Free Agent we are going to sign. How to get the NBA to get their act together. Which 7-11 Im going to run by to get a sandwich. Its that important.

Only HDNet takes more time out my day than trying to solve this problem. Its the holy grail of the movie business. How do you get people out of the house to see your movie without spending a fortune. How can you convince 5 million people to give up their weekend and go to a theater to see a specific movie without spending 60mm dollars.

Cuban may have put forth that he needs help in convincing “5 million people to give up their weekend and go to a theater” but he easily convinced 1157 people to give up their proprietary business development ideas free of charge to Mark Cuban for the good of his Landmark Theatre business.

According to Landmark Theatres it is the:

nation's largest theatre chain devoted exclusively to art and independent film, with 56 theatres in 22 markets. Landmark is a leader in theatre technology and services, providing customers with digital cinema, upscale concessions, on-site DVD sales, specialized merchandise, film festivals, special events and a broad range of programming. Landmark’s theatres include historic buildings as well as newly built state-of-the-art facilities across the nation, each devoted to offering outstanding entertainment experiences for moviegoers. Landmark Theatres is part of a vertically-integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also includes production companies 2929 Productions and HDNet Films, theatrical and home video distributor Magnolia Pictures, and high-definition cable channels HDNet and HDNet Movies.

Here is business development proposal number 145, willingly put forth for the financial benefit of Mark Cuban and his Landmark Theatres and posted on the public Internet by Steve Pearson:

145. You can reduce costs and market more effectively... 2 ideas.
1) Market your movies differently than everyone else by keeping information from the public. You build suspense by only divulging actors names, rating, title and maybe genre. This in itself will market itself and be first of its kind. No trailors or long advertisements etc.
How about this as an alternative:
2) Release a movie with different endings that randomly get chosen each time it is run. People seeing the movie in theatres at different times (or theatres) will have a different experience. People can debate which ending is better and won't be sure which ending they will get when they go see it. Also some may see it twice or more to get all the endings if your movie is good enough. This again will market itself.
I have no marketing experience so you may not want me.

Steve shouldn’t feel bad, Cuban apparently didn’t want the other 1156 free biz dev commenters either, although Cuban said he was “for real”:

So if you want a job, and have a great idea on how to market movies in a completely different way. If your idea works for any and all kinds of movies. If it changes the dynamics and the economics of promoting movies, email it or post it. If its new and unique, i want to hear about it. If its a different way of doing the same thing you have seen before, it probably wont get you a job, but feel free to try.

So go for it. Come up with a great idea that i want to use and I will come up with a job for you to make that idea happen.

for real.

Cuban's follow-up post to his open call for free biz dev advice, "Wow-The Challenge was accepted...but" puts forth "close, but no Landmark Theatre cigar" style feedback to his 1157 strong free biz dev team:

Shocked and impressed at the response to my Movie Challenge would certainly be understatements...plus hundreds of emails from people who were unable to post to the blog (sorry!)

I'm still going through them but wanted to offer some feedback to those who did, and those who may still want to respond.

First, there has not been a "why the heck didn't i think of that" response. I havent found one that makes me say "Hell Yes, thats the answer". There were many good ideas, but most of those were beneficial on the margin. Meaning if implemented, they might generate a few more ticket sales, but they would not change the economics of the industry.

At his keynote last week, Cuban conveyed that he willingly gives out his public email address with the hopes of gaining free, user-generated biz dev advice from the public. At the same time, however, he dismissed the worth of user-generated content to advertisers:

User-generated content is not going away. But do you want your advertising dollars spent on a video of Aunt Jenny watching her niece tap dance?

According to Cuban, however, advertising dollars spent on his HDNet are “going to have a big effect.”

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