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Barry Diller Warns: TV And Movie Studios Face “Profound Dislocation” – CES

Deadline logo Deadline 1/5/2017 David Lieberman
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Look out, traditional media and entertainment companies. The next five to 10 years will bring “profound dislocation” that will upend both television and movies, IAC/InterActive Corp and Expedia Chairman Barry Diller said today in a keynote presentation at the International CES technology confab.

“We’ve seen standards lowered in so many different areas” due to popular revulsion to “prissy elites,” he says. “The other part of the word ‘elite’ is people who are ambitious and aspirational and understand the value of tradition and how important standards are.”

Much of the change is due to the internet, which has eliminated bottlenecks between content producers and audiences. “The media world has been closed since radio….Scarsity was always the thing that kept people controlling media in very few hands” and the internet “changes all of that,” he says. “And we’re just at the beginning of that.”

But while that’s dislocating, it’s also “freeing,” Diller says.

“This is thought to be the best year for content, and most of that content is not on linear television and broadcast networks,” he says. With so much quality programming appearing on subscription-based outlets including Netflix “a lot of people, most people I think, are going to opt for commercial free television.”

That will leave ad-supported TV to cash-strapped audiences.  “You’re going to be advertising to people who can’t afford your goods” which will make free TV “endangered.”

Diller also blasted advertisers and programmers responsible for “decades of sleazy reality progrmming” and sensational radio.

At IAC’s The Daily Beast news site “we were for years after more audience and more audience. We tossed that about a year ago” to go after a discerning audience — even though that strategy may take a while to pay off.

“I’ve not seen marketers, at least many marketers, go for quality and say there is a premium and it is worthwhile,” he says. “And that has inevitably got to happen.”

The one-time chief of Fox lamented the state of the movie business.

Studios “have in the past been part of the guardianship of all of the other downstream [business] models.” But now a standalone movie studio “is hardly a good business proposition….unless you’re Disney.”

He adds that the movie business “is now a horrible thing called the tentpole business. The fact that we get any good movies is almost a miracle.” When a release has to generate $500 million at the box office “that’s hardly a creative enterprise.”

On other matters, Diller lamented the “nasty consequences” of instant publishing — including the proliferation of fabrications presented as news.

“People in journalism all want very much to find some way to separate accurate journalistic practices from just noise,” he says.

Diller opposes so-called “sponsored content,” where advertisers pay for material that looks like independent journalism.

“Sponsored content is either not content or not sponsored,” he says. “That’s just saying, ‘let’s do a lot of that drivel’.”

Marketers must “get deeply into the swim of this whole new world until you get an idea….How do you get a product or service that will appeal to people?”

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