Diller of Killer Charm
For those who missed it in “The Sopranos” frenzy (and stop arguing now–it was a good ending), CBS’s “60 Minutes” did a pretty warm and fuzzy profile of media and Internet mogul Barry Diller on Sunday.
He comes off charming and smooth, expertly batting away all suggestions by interviewer Lesley Stahl that he is tough to work for, or too imperious, or paid too much, or that his various Internet companies under the InterActiveCorp banner are too disparate.
“Have you ever heard your meetings described as making people crawl over barbed wire?” Stahl asks in the CBS report.
“Oh, please. For some people I think it is that, but look, it is absolutely process,” Diller parries, using “oh, please” as the best verbal cudgel ever.
Calling the Internet Diller’s “third act,” even though he has been onstage in the digital space for some time now, it’s still a nice synopsis of a lot of things Diller has said onstage at two past D conferences (D1 and D3). IAC owns five dozen sites, such as Ask.com, Ticketmaster, Citysearch, Evite, Match.com and LendingTree, and it recently bought CollegeHumor.com.
(He is also developing a personal finance site for young people with Dow Jones, which owns this site.)
While there is a lot of old stuff in the interview, the most interesting material centers on what Diller has been saying a lot of late: That content will rule with the eventual rise of online hits. Diller, a longtime Hollywood player, knows from content.
And he has repeatedly told me that he likes the idea of cheaper production and vast and inexpensive distribution (and without gatekeepers like he used to be) the Web promises.
“We’re going to invest probably hundreds of millions of dollars in this over the next years,” Diller told Stahl.