John Malone (pictured, left), frequently called the Darth Vader of US cable and president of Liberty Media, has come down pessimistically on free internet-based TV, and is especially critical of NBCs plans to put some of its expensively acquired Olympics footage onto the Web.
Malone told the Financial Times that NBC was making a mistake. I think the idea that theyre going to put television shows and movies on the internet, bypass[ing] their traditional distribution and have no way of collecting [revenues] is absurd, he said.

NBC paid $2.3bn for the US broadcast rights to the upcoming Beijing Games. However, the broadcaster cannot even begin to show all the programming that will be coming out of China.

Consequently, NBC has linked with Microsoft to offer live feeds as well as on demand footage of the Games, hoping that the project will bring in millions of online users and thus generate ad-based income for the effort.

Malone added: Very expensive events expensive to buy and expensive to produce are not going to have adequate underwriting through advertising. Youve got to be very careful what you promise to the public on the internet. Theyre going to have a very hard time getting anyone to pay them for their content.