By Catherine Andrews
Wearing jeans, sneakers, and with a Diet Coke in hand, blogger and entrepreneur Mark Cuban gave the luncheon keynote at the Online News Association Conference, engaging in questions and answers with an eager audience who wanted to know his thoughts on topics from YouTube to copyright issues to Cuban's daily reading habits.
Starting off his appearance with a response that Google, who is rumored to be acquiring YouTube, would be "crazy, crazy, crazy" to do so, Cuban used copyright issues he sees as YouTube's failing for a
launching pad to address other issues of technology facing traditional media today.
"I still think copyright legislation is too draconian right now," Cuban said. "But the laws are the laws, and YouTube is trying to hide...A site that is built on copyright fraud is set up to fail, and [YouTube] is going to get crushed."
Moving on to traditional media outlets, Cuban said that the media--both in print and the Web--were complementary and that what draws readers today isn't the technology--it's the quality of theproduct.
"What do you have access to that distinguishes you?" Cuban asked. "What are the assets you have in terms of writers? What are the skills they have that allow you to distinguish your organization from everyone else?" Figure those out, he said, then "just lever the hell
out of them."
Calling the Internet "old news," Cuban said that the biggest issue facing media today is how to market their product and figure out new ways to deliver content into the hands of the consumers.
"Don't focus so much on the technology," he advised, "but how you're going to get the message out and how you're going to get it in the right hands."
Admitting he didn't have the answer yet to how to do that, Cuban said that experimentation was key for news organizations, and it was up to them to try multiple ways of implementing ideas.
"Part of your job is to put [news] in a format that people want to receive it in," Cuban said. You just gotta experiment. But once you capture it you can implement it so many differ net ways. And something
will work and will surprise you and will change how people will consume your content."
He added, "Whoever captures it that way first, wins."