A Conversation with AXS TV Chairman and Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban - featured

Mark Cuban is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. In 2011, Cuban launched AXS TV, the premier destination for live events, breaking news, and as-they-are-happening trends in the worlds of pop culture, music, fashion, and entertainment. Mark is also the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures, as well as a “shark” investor on the television series Shark Tank. In 2011, Cuban wrote an e-book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, in which he chronicles his life experiences in business and sports. You can follow Mark on Twitter – @mcuban

By Chris Borchert

kickshufflelogo_300finalAXS TV’s slogan is “Live LIVE.” What exactly is AXS TV all about and who should be tuning in?

AXS TV is about music and to a lesser extent pop culture. We feel strongly that with the great sound on HDTVs and the picture quality, and the passion people have for music, it’s finally time to make music a primary TV experience. WE want people who love music to watch AXS TV.

kickshufflelogo_300finalWho is behind AXS TV?

It’s my baby, with some big time help from AEG, Ryan Seacrest and a ton of great people.

kickshufflelogo_300finalYou’ve had great success in the world of sports networks and broadcasting, so why did you decide to get involved with music? 

I’m like a lot of people, I’m passionate about music as well as sports. We had been broadcasting live concerts on HDNet, which was great, but I wanted more. I wanted more music discovery and to expose great acts to a wider audience. It is far easier for us to reach people on TV than it is to reach online, so we rebranded as AXS TV with a focus on music and the goal of being 100% music in the future.

kickshufflelogo_300finalLet’s stay with that idea of online consumption vs television consumption. How is TV a better platform for live concert streaming than the Internet, specifically with regard to users and bands?

When you stream online it’s very, very expensive for any but maybe 10 bands to draw an audience. You have to spend a ton of money and do incredible PR work in order to get people to stop what they are doing and go to your site and watch.  And if they do, it’s pretty tough to get them to commit to tie up their PCs/devices to streaming the show. People want to do other things with them.

With AXS TV we have a built-in audience. We can throw things on in the middle of the night and get 100k viewers. That’s a huge online show. So we have a built-in advantage.  People still love to watch TV and a concert on AXS TV looks and sounds great and lets you use your mobile to interact with everyone else watching the show.

kickshufflelogo_300finalWhat do you see as the biggest impact of new media on the television viewing experience?

TV is real time and so is Twitter and other social media, so it creates a unique social experience. When we broadcast a live concert, we have people at the concert tweeting, the band tweeting and people watching at home, all tweeting and talking to each other. It’s a unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else.

People now watch TV with a mobile device. Always. So it creates a unique dynamic that we try to take advantage of to create a unique experience.

kickshufflelogo_300finalWe’ve also seen social media significantly impact the way we discover new music. Can you talk a little bit about what role, if any, music discovery plays at AXS TV?

We have a show, AXS Live, that is on 5 days a week that has a daily segment where we introduce new music. We are in the process of creating new shows in just about every category that will include new music. And there are a lot of bands, that while they may have great followings, may not be known to all of our viewers. So we can put on a live concert for a band, get a great audience and have a percentage of them listening to the band for the first time. So all of our concerts are music discovery as well.

kickshufflelogo_300finalLet’s talk about the competition. How is AXS TV different from music/concert channels that already exist, such as Palladia, MTV, VH1 etc.?

First, MTV and VH1 long ago stopped being music channels. As far as Palladia, it’s a great channel, but it pretty much is exclusively MTV/VH1/CMT left overs. It’s content that is recycled. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not breaking any new ground.

kickshufflelogo_300finalWho do you see as your biggest competition in this space, and how are you going to beat them?

Our biggest challenge really is getting the word out. Once people try us, they love us.

kickshufflelogo_300finalDoes AXS TV have plans in place to stream major festivals, such as Coachella, Austin City Limits or Ultra?

Yes. Stay tuned.

kickshufflelogo_300finalAside from awareness, where can AXS TV improve/what can AXS TV do better?

We can keep on increasing the number of live events we do, and that is exactly our plan.

kickshufflelogo_300finalAre there any music startups out there that you find particularly impressive?

Check out Switchcam.

kickshufflelogo_300finalDo you have any advice for entrepreneurs specifically in the music space?

Remember that you have to figure out how to create revenue and make sure your costs are lower. Simple concept, but for some reason it’s not always obvious to the music biz.

And for any bands/artists out there, feel free to email me. Mark@axs.tv, we want to know about what your band/act is doing. I can get you to the right person.

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Kickshuffle is an online news source dedicated to covering the impact of new media on music and music business. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.

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