Have a large grain of salt handy? MediaGuardian is out with its seventh annual list of the 100 most influential figures in media, declaring “this year we ripped up the list and started again” with 47 new entries to reflect the rise of online. BBC director general Mark Thompson loses the top slot to Google CEO Eric Schmidt in the year Schmidt bought YouTube — after all, this is the summer YouTube is supposed to overtake bbc.co.uk as the U.K.’s most popular online entertainment destination. YouTube’s Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are new entries at 14, though they likely have more influence over the video site than Schmidt himself.
Curiously, Virgin Media majority stakeholder Richard Branson is just one place behind BSkyB CEO James Murdoch in the top 10 on the basis of the companies’ high-profile spat and of a possible Virgin rescue buy-out from Carlyle – despite BSkyB enjoying a far larger subscriber base and Carlyle this week reportedly considering Branson a hindrance to a successful Virgin.
Noting the rise of social networking, Bebo CEO Michael Birch enters at 78 while MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe is a new entrant at 88, though that social network’s buzz is now likely slowing after a most influential year last year. The panel noted a “mixed year” for News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, partly because its “MySpace crown is under threat from the latest social networking craze, Facebook”. Yet Murdoch was promoted one place to second and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of what is now the fastest-growing social media zeitgeist, doesn’t even chart at all. Though it is not a person, Facebook gets its own place in the list – last, at 100, behind the likes of motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson. Given Zuckerberg has so far bravely steered the company away from big buy-out offers and ratcheted up the addiction level such that Facebook could probably threaten U.K. workplace productivity this summer, has he been hard-done-by? The full list.
Who else is missing? Who’s overrated? Under appreciated?