Barry Diller thinks the Netflix model will win, and free TV is doomed

Barry Diller

Media mogul Barry Diller thinks the future belongs to companies like Netflix, and that ad-supported television is going to crash.

“This is thought to be the best year for content, and most of that content is not on linear television and broadcast networks,” Diller, who founded the Fox network, said on Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Because of high-quality shows in places like Netflix, “a lot of people, most people I think, are going to opt for commercial free television,” he continued, according to Deadline.

That means only people who can’t afford ad-free services like Netflix will continue to watch traditional TV, Diller explained. And that’s a big problem, as it will send the model spiraling down. “You’re going to be advertising to people who can’t afford your goods,” he said. He characterised free TV as “endangered,” Deadline reported.

Diller also sees the TV world moving toward more choice for consumers.

“People will pick [channels] individually or people will create packages for you,” he said, according to USA Today. “I really think you will curate yourself. You will decide: I like Netflix. I like Amazon. I want ESPN. Why would you let anyone warehouse for you if you can individually choose?”

The main argument against this type of thinking is that, in a more “a la carte” world, people would actually end up paying more. There is value in the big bundle, critics say.

Diller doesn’t buy it. “People say you will pay more,” Diller said. “You won’t because the prices will come down to what the market bears.”

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