In the very full auditorium in the McGraw-Hill Building (when will they move this conference to a bigger hotel…spend some money, will ya?), where Barry Diller is getting ready to give the opening Q&A keynote.
Diller is extolling the virtues of Ask.com and how it is the glue within the whole company. “We are all in trouble if Google is the only ad networks. Media models have multiple players…it has always been. It may not be us, it could be us.”
On Viacom-YouTube controversy: They are saying: YouTube, you are not going to get it, but we’re going to make it available to all other outlets which have fair commerce. The issue is availability, and everyone will do that. Media companies are saying we are not going to allow you to become to powerful, like HBO in cable. None of them are going to let that happen. It is a smart move by Viacom…the issue is what is the business model they will come up with in payment or advertising.
Future of YouTube: I have no clue. They have a big audience…it is ridiculous.
On social networking: Match.com is our play in social networking…a pure social network site–not that they are of value–no one has yet proved it is the easiest advertising medium. Pure social network is an upgrade from the princess telephone teenagers used to talk on for hours and hours. I do think, however, it is a great promotional vehicle.
Match.com got into trouble because it added social networking, that flirting element and that friend thing. We put all these bells and whistles on the service, and confused our audience…now we have had a turn around.
User-gen content: We come up with these terms which don’t mean anything. Almost everything we do has some form of user interactivity…user is part of the active process. We should not all be crazy over this. The truth is that the professional talent pool is finite..it is not 100 people, but it is not million people, I can assure you.
CollegeHumor: We like them a lot…they created Vimeo which has video tools so much better than others. We really want to invent products…we want to start with ideas, and then launch these products. 23/6 is our comedy site and will launch in a couple of months. We will invest several hundred million dollars in capital in these kinds of services of the next few years. I never left programming…it is just different now.
Acquisitions: We will buy anything that walks…but I think valuations have gone nuts. I much prefer trusting the people in your house, than people far away who are more intent on selling themselves in the first place. Do it through your own process, that’s what I believe in.