Barry Diller Opens Web 2.0
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Battelle asked whether Diller will get back into the media space now that Google and Yahoo have made noise in that area. Without hesitation Diller answered, "I absolutely see my company getting involved in producing, financing, and distributing a filmed or taped digital product in 1/2-hour or 2-hour form. It's natural. Everything will end up being in digits. The making is there already and the distribution will be." He sees a convergence in content between what we think of as online and what we think of as entertainment because everything "is going to come through that search box. What will media or internet mean. It's going to be one world."
Questions of nonprofessionally generated content are harder to answer. Diller explained that with Match.com they provide the template but not really the actual product. The audience, many of whom blog, were taken aback when Diller said that in areas of content targeted at a wider audience, "There isn't that much talent in the world and talent will out. While there may be audiences of eight to twelve people who are interested in people's individual expression, there is a need for editors and a process with people who have talent."
He explained that when you look at the large audiences for entertainment, content created by individual users is not going to take up a significant portion of this audience's lives. If you are talking about creating a television program or a movie, Diller believes that there is a limited number of people with the talent to create something worth watching. "There is never enough talent and I don't believe it's hiding out somewhere." He believes that people with talent will tend to be discovered.
Toward the Future
Diller is concerned that we will lose Net neutrality. He worries that the cable companies and the telephone companies will restrict what goes over their wires. Although he recognizes that these companies are entitled to charge for their services he is concerned that these companies will demonize or restrict competing content providers to maintain an advantage. "What passes on that network is neutral. If you do that you have a level playing field for the rest of time." This is one area in which he thinks government must get involved and pass supporting legislation.
Given this level playing field, Diller is very optimistic. "If we innovate in our services to make them more than they are now--that's the thing to invest in. It's just ideas." He related this back to creating content in the current climate. "The only issue is whether or not you have a good idea. If you have a good idea now in this world as opposed to old world media you have so much greater runway ahead of you and so much more wind at your back. Advertisers are looking for more targeted ways and more modern ways. Whatever business you have, if it's a good idea, you can get it up and out. Good ideas resonate."
Daniel H. Steinberg is the editor for the new series of Mac Developer titles for the Pragmatic Programmers. He writes feature articles for Apple's ADC web site and is a regular contributor to Mac Devcenter. He has presented at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, MacWorld, MacHack and other Mac developer conferences.
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