What Elton John and Mark Cuban Have In Common

Elton John says dump the Internet and return to the good old fashioned face-to-face way of living.

Elton John is a great performer, but he’s a technophobe when it comes to the Internet.

Mark Cuban, the colorful and rich owner of the Dallas Mavericks, made $5.7 billion by selling Broadcast.com to Yahoo at the exact right moment.

Cuban says the Internet is now dead.

That not only hurts, but he rubs it in by saying the Internet is for old people. What is it with old people? Just a week ago I wrote a post about how students think email is for old people.

This is going to give the record industry and the broadcasting business a headache as they still haven’t jumped into commerce on the Internet yet unless you want to call downloading or streaming terrestrial stations an Internet strategy.

This is all mind-boggling. Are Elton John and Mark Cuban saying the same thing?
Can Mark Cuban sing “Honky Cat”? Just asking.

Cuban is quite a bit more believable.

He thinks cable and satellite networks are better than the Internet for building more complex interactive services. With Cuban it may be an issue of lack of bandwidth upon which to distribute video programming – and after all, HD TV is his business.

Phone companies and cable systems are not really compatible for HD video. Clustered cable networks might provide the atmosphere for high speed, high band-width applications.

This is a scary thought – cable systems as an intranet. Cable systems as the future. Many people still remember having to deal with cable boxes, poor service and high rates when cable invaded home television in the 80's.

Yet Cuban has a point.

Another point to watch is the signs we’re beginning to see that the “world wide” part of the world wide web may not be as attractive or essential as we once thought.

Young people live within social networks, as I’ve reported previously. They can do it all on Facebook or MySpace. They can get their video from YouTube.

These same young people are marching to the mobile future – lusting after an iPhone and its ability to bring them the web as we know it today. But tomorrow, our world may not be as wide. We may be willing to live within a smaller community online and we most certainly may do so to access things like HD programming if that’s what we want.

It’s odd in a way to call the Internet old and outdated, but technology now moves at the speed of light – at least in terms of development.

For media companies that have yet to conquer the Internet or adapt it to their traditional business models, welcome to the future.

We don’t know where it’s going, but we’re all going there.

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