Barry Diller: Of Course People Are Going To Pay For Content On The Web

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At Goldman’s Communacopia conference, another high profile CEO is telling the world the free-for-all days of the Internet won’t last forever. Yesterday it was Rupert Murdoch, today it’s Barry Diller.

He says “people will pay for things” on the Web and anyone that’s worried about upsetting the Internet community is a fool.

If you look back just eight years, says Diller, you’d see everyone writing off the music business as dead and gone, since all music was going to be free, illegal downloads. Now there’s iTunes, a good business with smart pricing, and billions in revenue.

Pricing is key. The Internet is “the most trackable medium, but it has no variable pricing,” says Diller. Once that’s figured out, then charging for Web content won’t be so hard. Remember, we’re still in the very early stages here. 

Other bits from Diller:

  • There’s no business model for Web video, but he points out that when he suggested pre-rolls for Web video years ago, “it was like a cross to a vampire.” Now they’re everywhere.
  • Not a fan of the banner ad. Display ads are just the first stage, there’s a tremendous amount of time to improve.
  • Bing is a “good product” but it’s “real foolishness” to challenge Google head-on.
  • CollegeHumor is like the movie industry in 1912. They’re starting small, but it will become big. For the small investment it needed, it’s a good business.
  • Ben Silverman was a bad fit at NBC, and he’s one of the most interesting minds Diller has come across.

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