Barry Diller is all for President Joe Biden’s efforts to rein in some of the more aggressive business tactics favored by Big Tech giants.
As the sun rose on day three of the annual Allen & Co. moguls gathering here in the Idaho mountain resort, Diller, the veteran executive who has long straddled the world of content and digital with his IAC Corp. holding company, gave a thumbs-up to Biden’s just-announced executive order. The move takes aim at Big Tech and Big Pharma on restrictive contracts and employment terms that the administration says raise prices and hurt employees.
More from Variety
Speaking about the Big Tech angle, Diller alluded to the dominance of the FAANG giants — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and Netflix — who are steadily carving out their turf to dominate in digital content production and distribution, advertising, financial technology and cultural conversations and trends as amplified by the megaphone of social media.
“I’ve felt for years that as these companies grow larger and larger and have monopolistic tendencies — tendencies, they are monopolies — they have to have regulation,” Diller said.
Diller also was characteristically blunt when asked about the changing tides for Hollywood’s largest traditional players. There’s no doubt that the tech brigade of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Netflix’s Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue are the C-suiters with sizzle here in Sun Valley.
Diller, whose resume stretches from the end of old Hollywood in the ’60s and ’70s to the dot-com boom of the 1990s and beyond, said the shift is palpable.
“Hollywood as we know it is irrelevant. It no longer has any meaning or whatever. Streaming and everything, movies. It’s all really changed, and it no longer has hegemony over anything,” Diller said.
Diller and Amazon founder Bezos have spent a lot of time together over the past few days with a trip to Greece on Diller’s yacht prior to the two arriving in the Sawtooth Mountains. But the iron-fisted boss, who ran Paramount Pictures in the 1970s and 20th Century Fox in the ’80s, said he has not offered his mega-mogul friend any advice on running a studio now that Amazon has set a deal to buy MGM for $8.5 billion.
Asked whether he thought the tech giants with big pockets will continue to scoop up Hollywood brands, Diller was skeptical. “There are not many left, as they say,” he said as he headed into the Allen & Co. morning events with his wife, famed fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, on his arm.
Sun Valley, as ever, brings together an eclectic mix. Among the attendees spotted getting an early start on Friday’s events were Candice Bergen, former senator Bill Bradley, billionaire investor Vivi Nevo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and NBC News legend Tom Brokaw.
Best of Variety