Photo: Josh Hallet via Flickr
Despite a year of a struggling economy, box office losses and changing media landscape, many media CEOs are rewarding themselves with huge paychecks, bonuses and even raises.TheWrap.com compiled a list of top-earning execs and while Apple CEO Tim Cook took the top spot for highest compensation in 2011, Hollywood-friendly tycoons Les Moonves, Phillippe Dauman, Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch and Bob Iger all ranked right below.
So before you purchase your next movie ticket, see whose pockets your money is going into.
COMPANY: Walt Disney Co.
POSITION: Chairman & CEO
PAYCHECK: While Disney's share price stagnated in 2011, Iger's annual package was increased by 12 per cent. The CEO did previously take a pay cut when the recession hit a low point but because of increased revenues over the past two years, Iger has continued to 'make bank,' as they say.
According to TheWrap, 'With a succession plan now firmly in place that will see Iger remain at Disney as the company's chairman through 2016, the entertainment baron's compensation shot up in 2011 to $31.4 million. Some $13 million of that comes in performance-based stock awards and options that vest over several years, but it's still a hefty payday.'
COMPANY: News Corp. (which includes Fox News and Twentieth Century Fox)
POSITION: Chairman & CEO
PAYCHECK: Despite a year of tremendous turmoil, Murdoch just took a $12.5 million bonus. And in the same year that Murdoch was involved in a phone hacking scandal that resulted in a parliamentary investigation, an attempt at buying BSkyB and a severely damaged reputation, Murdoch decided to take a pay package increased nearly 47 per cent to $33.3 million.
COMPANY: Viacom & CBS
PAYCHECK: Despite earning two huge paychecks, Redstone still comes in third on Hollywood's highest-earning moguls. According to The Wrap, 'Sumner Redstone bagged a $5 million raise while Viacom shares remained dead flat at $47.'
But age isn't slowing down this 88-year-old Hollywood honcho; after once firing Tom Cruise for getting paid $10 million 'for doing nothing,' this week Redstone said he and Cruise are now BFFs.
COMPANY: Viacom (which includes MTV, BET & Paramount Pictures)
PAYCHECK: Despite Dauman halving his compensation package in 2011 from $84.5 million in 2010, he still earned $43.1 million in salary and stock options. Dauman's 2010 paycheck was so huge due to a stock equity award of $54.27 million which will vest over a five-year period if Viacom hits certain milestones.
Les Moonves overtook Dauman as Hollywood's highest-paid CEO last year.
PAYCHECK: In 2011, Moonves took home $69.9 million, up from $57.7 million in 2010. Moonves got a boost from a $27.5 million bonus for reaching performance goals. In his defence, CBS is currently America's most-watched network.
According to TheWrap, Moonves' pay this year is also structured to reward him for reaching specific milestones--so here's to hoping Ashton Kutcher can keep CBS sitcom 'Two and a Half Men' afloat.
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