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Inside Move: Tainted love

Diller dishes on H'wood excess

For a man who’s avowedly out of the entertainment biz, Barry Diller seems to have an awful lot to say about it these days.

Speaking at the annual Magazine Publishers of America conference in Rancho Mirage last week, the InteractiveCorp. chairman and CEO spent a fair amount of time dissing his old patch.

“Hollywood is a pain in the ass,” Diller told the 500 magazine execs, pouring scorn on the “disgusting amount of money” it takes to produce and equally “stupid” sums it takes to market a film.

Dismayed by what he sees as a business overly focused on merchandising sales, Diller pooh-poohed overemphasis on franchises and sequels around “huge elephantine movies.”

“The film business is so overgeared with bells and whistles and T-shirts from sequels.”

Diller, who traded in power-mongering roles at Fox and Paramount for an arguably even more lucrative seat at the top of online retailers like as Expedia and Hotels.com,insists Hollywood’s business challenges are “not particularly interesting” to him anymore.

By contrast, “the Internet,” he says, ” is a wonderful free business. I’m fascinated by that.”

During his interview with Newsweek chairman Rick Smith, Diller refuted the notion that product placement in entertainment properties was a particularly effective vehicle for advertisers.

Despite his evident disdain for the big media “oligarchs” and Hollywood ways, Diller has yet to sever his own ties completely, with pivotal minority stakes in Vivendi Universal that have yet to be resolved.

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