Appetite for destruction? Barry Diller sees more misery for media companies

Barry Diller, CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), says there's still a lot of "creative destruction" to come in the media industry, because of the growth of online media.

"Out of the shreds of this are going to come very vibrant business models," Diller said today at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Pasadena, California. The destruction will come, he says, because it's easy for folks "to push a button and publish to the world."
As newspapers across the country shut down or cut staff, and magazines like Portfolio and Vibeclose while others are in danger of shutting, it's apparent that few publications are immune from the creative destruction Diller predicts. There is "no way to predict" when further destruction will come, he said, but it will come, because of the historic transitional shift in the media industry.

"This is a particularly tough time for media content, because we are transitioning from an old form to a new form," Diller said. The growth of online media, he says, is at an early stage. "The Internet is just getting to the stage where it's going to be a two-revenue-stream system, and probably three": advertising, subscriptions -- and "pure-play transactions," a term Diller did not explain in his speech. (He was not available for comment.)

So, to review: online media is killing offline media models; the shift is still in early stages; and the coming damage will be greater than the damage already seen. Nothing Diller said today was revolutionary, but his lecture was a not-so-gentle reminder to media companies that believe themselves immune to the chaos, or at least to have survived the worst of the content shift in progress.

And what about the winners in this game? Anything for the online media companies to worry about?

"The only problem for the Internet is someone coming along, squeezing the pipe, and trying to be the toll-bridge taker," he said. "And I don't think that's going to happen."

Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.
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