Legendary entrepreneur and businessman Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about the TV industry. Besides owning the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban founded HDNet Movies and is subsequently the chairman of AXS TV on the HDTV network. He also appears in Shark Tank, a reality TV show starring prominent entrepreneurs and business executives.
It’s no secret that Apple has been trying to reach agreements with Hollywood to create a totally new kind of TV experience. Negotiations have reportedly been ongoing for quite some time. In a recent interview, Cuban explained how Apple’s software integration with the cable companies would be a “game over” move. The TV industry would never be the same.
Here’s an excerpt of what Cuban had to say while speaking with Adweek:
If Apple just rolls out a nice set-top box with a cool user interface, is that enough to make any waves?
Yes. This would be the smart approach. Having a set-top box that uses a TV-ready version of iOS that changes the paradigm for user interfaces would create a platform from which Apple could sell content and integrate new options. I don’t think there is any doubt that if Apple released a set-top box that supported authentication for multichannel video programming distributors (like cable and satellite companies), it would be a huge success.
If Apple indeed looks to totally disrupt TV, what happens to the so-called over-the-top incumbents like Xbox, Roku, TiVo and Boxee, as well as connected TV manufacturers?
They will have challenges. A key feature will be [the way Apple handles] authentication and programming guides. If Apple succeeds at fully integrating its products with cable and satellite companies to facilitate both authentication and programming guides, it’s game over.
Cuban also talked about how it doesn’t make sense for Apple to negotiate expensive licensing deals with studios and cable companies to get content. “Apple has always been about leveraging content to sell hardware and software,” said Cuban. “In order to get a return on a pay-up-front-for-content deal, they would have to sell a lot of high-margin products that have yet to be introduced.”
Instead, Cuban argued that it would be easier and more beneficial to Apple if the company created a cheap set-top box that integrated easy-to-use software with premium Hollywood content. Apple would control the experience and portal for the content to be displayed in. To undercut the competition, Apple would need to gain unprecedented access to content that would leave the likes of Xbox, Roku, TiVo and Boxee in the dust.
Others have made similar arguments. All Apple would really need to do is sell an updated set-top box and let customers use an iPad or iPhone as a remote. Once the deals are inked, there’s no questioning Apple and Jony Ive’s ability to create the best experience.