Barry Diller, who famously lost a bidding war for Paramount Pictures two decades ago, says the movie business has unattractive economics that have been crimped by internet's disruption of the media ecosystem."Movie companies rarely make a lot of money," Diller said during a keynote session Thursday at the 2017 CES trade show in Las Vegas Thursday. "A standalone movie studio today is a hardly a great business proposition," he said, allowing that Disney is an exception in the industry.Movie studios...
Diller is perhaps the longest tenured top exec working in the entertainment industry today.
A native of San Francisco, Diller dropped out of UCLA after one semester and took a job in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency. In 1964, he became the assistant to ABC president Elton Rule, based in New York. Promoted to VP of development the following year, he went on to create the ABC Movie of the Week.
In 1983, Diller was named chairman and CEO of Paramount, where he made his mark with hit films such as “Saturday Night Fever” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and his “Killer-Diller” lineup of junior execs that included future studio chiefs Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg. In 1984, he left to head Fox, where he launched “the fourth network,” Fox Broadcasting, in 1986. After initial struggles, Diller turned Fox into a viable competitor to ABC, CBS and NBC with such hits as “The Simpsons” and “Married… With Children.”
After leaving Fox in 1992, he bought a $25 million stake in shopping network QVC. He then acquired the Home Shopping Network and combined its Silver King Broadcasting division with Universal’s cable and TV production units to launch USA Networks. Today, Diller is chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp. While it no longer owns USA Networks, it has a long list of assets that includes Match.com, Tinder, The Daily Beast, Vimeo and CollegeHumor.
Ever the innovator, Diller has a habit of taking on new ventures that create controversy. His backing of broadcast disruptor Aereo didn’t pan out in 2015 and now he’s generating headlines again in 2017 with a planned $250 million reconstruction of Manhattan’s Pier 55 into an arts center that he ultimately abandoned.