MediaFile

Newsweek offline + online is the future, says Barry Diller

Many of you  might have forgotten IAC/InteractiveCorp’s Daily Beast and Newsweek agreed to merge operations last November to create a new entity called, well…  Newsweek. And that would be understandable as it’s been pretty quiet till this week’s interview scoop with the former IMF chief Dominque Strauss-Kahn’s accuser.

IAC Chairman Barry Diller (pictured, right) told Wall Street analysts today that Newsweek has a promising future very different from the floundering Newsweek of recent years. He said under the leadership of Daily Beast founder Tina Brown the weekly magazine is starting to win back advertisers and subscribers.

“The losses are not really high. In a year, year-and-a-half or so, I think it’s probably a year-and-a- half, I think we’ll have no losses and be on the positive side. And I think for a pretty small investment we’re going to build a serious long-term asset in new publishing,” which he describes as the combination or offline and online.

Diller said the publication has some 10 million unique visitors on the Web and said the effort would  result in “reasonable losses”. He said total investment will probably come to a total of $50 million from “inception to conclusion of losses”.

This isn’t too dissimilar to Rupert Murdoch’s estimation for The Daily, the iPad-based daily magazine News Corp launched in February with much fanfare, a $30 million pre-launch  investment and a promise to spend around $500,000 a week running it. News Corp has not said much about The Daily since its launch and in recent weeks, well… they’ve had other distractions. Still New York Observer has a story here today saying the fledgling news service is suffering start-up growth pains.

Whoops, Barry Diller misspoke – again

Asking Barry Diller about Ask.com is not so easy.

The media mogul caused a stir on Wednesday when he said that Ask.com, the search engine owned by his Web holding company IAC/InterActive Corp, has “no value inside IAC.”

The comments, which were made onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, generated a wave of blogs and tweets concluding that Diller had given up hope for the No. 4 search engine in the US, which had a modest 3.8 percent market share in August according to comScore.

TECH SUMMIT/IACNow Diller says he was misunderstood.

“I did not say that Ask has no value inside of IAC, period,” Diller clarified in a subsequent statement.

Soccer clubs and mortgages: How a media mogul spends $10 million

Unlike many of us, media executives know what it’s like to play around with large wads of cash. So it seemed natural to ask them about what kind of investment opportunities they’re seeing when they gathered in New York this week for the Reuters Global Media Summit.

We gave each media honcho $10 million in hypothetical cash and told them to put the money to work without buying stock in their own companies.

Diller11Some executives plowed the money into broad sectors and regions, like emerging markets, while others zeroed in on specific stocks, like Electronic Arts’ CEO John Riccitiello’s penchant for software maker Adobe.

from Summit Notebook:

A Barry Diller sampler from the Reuters Global Media Summit

Interviewing IAC chief and media mogul Barry Diller nearly always means that you'll get more quotable quotes than you can stuff into one article. He didn't disappoint at this year's Reuters Global Media Summit on Wednesday. Here are thoughts from Diller on a range of subjects from mergers and acquisitions and Comcast to AOL, MGM and marriage.

Q: What are you going to do with the cash on the balance sheet? What's the focus? Are you still being cautious?

A: "I'd say we still are. It's definitely a looming problem. The only thing worse than spending cash stupidly is essentially not to put it down at all, not to do anything."

from Summit Notebook:

Daily Beast staff ‘happy as clams,’ says Barry Diller

The journalists and staff who work at The Daily Beast don't look at life like you other sad-sack scribes out there who are watching your job market wash out to sea with the ebb tide. In fact, they are happy in a particularly mollusk-like way.

"They're as happy as clams," said Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which is financing the online news outlet with its editor, Tina Brown. "They wake up every morning filled with possibility."

That's because they are not working at sinking-ship news outlets like most of the rest of their colleagues in mainstream U.S. journalism.

Live blog from the Reuters Global Media Summit

Reuters reporters will be sending live updates from interviews with guests including Disney’s Anne Sweeney, IAC’s Barry Diller, WPP’s Martin Sorrell, Sirius XM’s Mel Karmazin and more.

Media, tech moguls meet in New York (You are NOT invited)

Media and technology executives are meeting Wednesday and Thursday in New York City at a conference hosted by private equity firm Quadrangle. Note the word private.

When they meet at the Plaza, they will talk about a ton of different things that their customers, their investors and other readers want to know. I have to apologize for them because they’re not letting in any riff-raff. And that includes reporters who get paid to spend all day figuring out how these people decide what kind of entertainment you want, what kind of technology you pay them for and what deals they pursue with the money that you give them when you buy their stock. This event always excludes press, but that’s no reason not to highlight what you probably are missing because of this. After all, who wants to wait for the 8-K filing?

Some press will be allowed, but it will be an assortment of celebrity journalists who will moderate panels and, according to Peter Kafka, author of “MediaMemo” at News Corp’s AllThingsD blog, will not write about the event (I’m talking about Maria Bartiromo and David Faber of CNBC, The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, etc).

Barry Diller’s take on Microsoft, Yahoo and more

Few in the media business know dealmaking better than Barry Diller.

So it comes as little surprise that the head of IAC/Interactive was asked about both the Microsoft-Yahoo deal and the AOL separation during an earnings conference call today. He sounded upbeat on both situations.

Here are some excepts:

Microsoft-Yahoo:

One significant thing that happened is we’re not going have to talk about whether or not it’s going to happen anymore [Ed -Amen to that!]. Look, Microsoft will be able to report a greater share in terms of search and get — at least in some minds of the talkers — into being up there in competing terms with Google. And Yahoo doesn’t have to spend anymore money on search. As far as being able to execute, that is very complicated.

For us, I think that the significance is we want, need, must have at least two competitive forces, big competitive forces… I want to have two players out there wanting to get our incremental business, which is, of course, of real value to the companies.

Sun Valley: Ken Auletta paints it, black

Allen & Co’s Sun Valley media and technology conference forbids journalists from attending the morning sessions that executives and other media power players attend before they go out to play and talk about deals in the afternoon. That means the last, best hope they have is to get the low-down from a journalist who was invited.

There’s no pride in it, but at least you hear what happened from a reliable source.

In this case, that’s Ken Auletta, New Yorker media writer and author of several books about the media business. He moderated a panel about surviving in the digital age.

Sun Valley: A Who’s Who in pictures

Nearly every powerful media and technology executive you can think of will be camping out in the idyllic and affluent ski resort town of Sun Valley this week. Here are just a few…

Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, Michael Larson of Cascade Investments and Ron Meyer, president and COO Universal Studios arrive at the Sun Valley Inn.

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her husband Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActivecorp, arrive at the Sun Valley Inn with Eric Eisner.