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Barry Diller: Disney’s Streaming Service Won’t Beat Netflix

Disney’s decision to start its own streaming service makes sense, said IAC chairman and former studio exec Barry Diller during a keynote conversation at the Internet Association’s Virtuous Circle Summit Monday morning. However, the Mouse shouldn’t expect to ever catch up to Netflix. “The network effect is so huge,” he said.

Diller reiterated his view that big tech companies like Google, Apple, and Netflix are virtually unstoppable. “I do not think these large companies will be interrupted in their growth,” Diller said. “Every year, they take more share rather than lose share.”

As part of that growth, it would be natural for companies like Amazon to buy more and more media content, and even bid for sports rights. However, Diller argued that the Amazons and Googles of the world won’t buy studios or other legacy media companies any time soon: “I don’t think they need to, really.”

Diller did agree that there was a danger in the big tech companies getting too big without regulatory oversight. “They are going to get larger. Regulation has to follow, or should follow,” he said. One of the areas that could use more regulation is ad targeting and the possibility to abuse it for political purposes, he argued.

The big tech companies also have a huge impact on Diller’s own business, who revealed Monday that Expedia and IAC together spend about $3.5 billion a year on advertising. “80% of it goes to Google.” Still, he argued that it wasn’t necessary to put a stop to these companies’ growth: “I don’t think they should be broken up.”

Diller, who decades ago led Paramount and Fox, on Monday also opined on the future of the movie business. With Netflix and Amazon increasingly investing in movies, the traditional release windows would ultimately collapse. Theaters would continue to exist for communal experiences, but most consumers would watch new releases from the comfort of their own couch in the near future, he said: “The vast majority is going to be day-and-day, in your home.”

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