Killer Diller?s Change of Heart

Media conglomerates have encountered an unlikely opponent in USA
Interactive?s Chairman and CEO Barry Diller. Formerly the head of
Fox and Paramount Studios, Diller?s infamous take-no-prisoners
managerial style spawned a generation of Hollywood powerbrokers
known as ?The Killer Dillers,? including former Paramount president
Dawn Steel, Dreamworks Studio co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and
Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner. In 1995, Diller hailed
Disney?s acquisition of ABC as ?a great transaction.? At a recent
industry trade show, however, Diller warned broadcasters that media
conglomerates have ?gone too far? in their pursuit of the market
share.

In a recent interview on PBS? Now With Bill Moyers,
Diller referred to the five corporations that control television
content as a ?dangerous oligopoly.? When asked by Moyers to defend
his use of such a ?very strong word,? Diller noted that a ?handful
of companies? have integrated, ?both vertically and horizontally.?
As a result, ?four or five companies control 90 percent of
everything we see.? Ten years ago, for example, independent
television producers created 16 new television series. Last year,
there was only one. Diller attributes such changes to ?the forces
of consolidation.? While he doesn?t believe that such results are
?evil,? Diller feels it?s time to tell conglomerates, ?[you] can?t
own every voice there is to own.?

In the past, when media acquisitions resulted in an unfair
market advantage, federal regulations forced corporations to
?rebalance themselves.? In the coming weeks, however, the Federal
Communications Commission will vote on further media deregulation,
which, if passed, would remove the rules limiting the number of
stations a single broadcaster can own in one market. Diller may be
the most notable opponent to media consolidation, but he?s not the
only person with the power to influence the vote. Check out
Moveon.org to learn how you can make a difference in the fight
against FCC media deregulation.

Go there>>

Now With Bill Moyers
interview transcript

Related Links:

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.