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Are These People Really Worth $200 Million?


Wolff: Well, let's look forward. Just take a step. Let's look nine months, eighteen months ahead. What happens in a broadband world?

Kurnit: Broadband is not a nine-month . . . It may be three to four years . . .

Nisenholtz: Traditional broadcast has an infrastructure and a way of thinking that is very one-way, and it's not going to play in an interactive broadband world. Interactive television is an oxymoron that has never worked and will never work. I have a feeling it's going to be a lot more about videoconferencing. And by the way, videoconferencing of all kinds.

Suh: Oh, Martin!

Paternot: If you just look at what happens in general human nature now in the real world, you spend mostly a few hours a day watching one-way media. The rest of your day, from business to hanging out after work, you're having constant little interactions with people. Now all of a sudden, online, you can do the same thing. I don't think broadband is going to suddenly mean "Oh, I have a big enough pipe to watch ten hours of Seinfeld online."

Nisenholtz: Or that you want to interact somehow with Seinfeld and change the endgame. I mean, what a ridiculous thing.

Wolff: Well, what do you do if you're running an old-media company?

Krizelman: I don't know if it's as much of an enigma as we're making it out to be. At the very top level, someone says -- and it's probably Mel Karmazin -- "We're going to figure it out, we're going to place invest ments all over the place, we're going to start it internally if we need to as well." And they go for it.

Packo: Look at Disney, for instance -- what did they do? The Starwave deal, the Infoseek deal. Then they created a whole new portal, And in there, all the brands are showing up -- ABC, ESPN. They're really merging the two, the Internet and their current way of being, to be really right for the future. They're experimenting, they're getting there. When we look at where the consumers go, they do go to trusted brands, but they also certainly gravitate to the Yahoos and to the Excites.

Kurnit: Are you saying those aren't trusted brands?

Packo: They're trusted brands, but they're not the traditional brands. They're new brands.

Wolff: Scenarios for the bubble bursting. You must think about it all the time. We all think about it. We all assume it will happen.

Krizelman: It feels more like a constant series of corrections. About a year after Netscape went public, at that point a lot of people felt that the craziness was gradually disappearing. Back then, of course, we obviously proved that that wasn't true. This past October was another time that we felt the bubble had burst. And again this January, there was another major correction. There's a constant series of corrections.

Wolff: But it was a minor correction. Let's talk about a scenario in which Internet companies lose half of their value and maybe three quarters of their value overnight.

Suh: It's not a bubble; it's a dome. And if something breaks, it's going to be really painful to everybody, not just the Internet companies. It's almost like Long-Term Asset Management. You couldn't afford to let them burst. And I think it's the same with some of these Internet stocks that you might call a bubble. If these things crash, it's not the Internet crashing.

Wolff: So you're saying that really the Internet is now too ingrained and has attracted too much capital for it to crash?

Suh: Yes. I mean, it may crash, but if it does, I think the entire market will crash rather than just the Internet sector.

Krizelman: I agree with that.

Judson: I do agree that it would trickle from the Internet to the rest of the market.

Suh: There will be clarity achieved. I think some companies will lose 50 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent of their value, but there will be others . . .

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