How To Make Money In Old Media: Stay In Old Media

Everbody knows: Big old media is dying, and nimble new media is where the action is. We agree! But if you’re a “content producer” who wants to make serious money in the near-term, you might want to hang out in the comfy confines of big old media a while longer.

Witness Rick Reilly, who left his longtime perch as a Sports Illustrated columnist this month to join rival ESPN. This was the second time the Time Warner (TWX) and Disney (DIS) outlets have fought over Rick, so it’s no surprise to hear that he was able to command a premium for his services: Basically, writing a (kind of) humorous column once a week and appearing in a handful of other venues (at ESPN, that will include TV appearances as well).

Most reports have Rick pulling down a staggering $2 million a year or so for his 5-year contract at his new employer. But we hear those estimates are low. Rick, we’re told, is actually going to pull down $17 million over the next five years at ESPN, or $3.4 million a year.

So maybe the moral is to work for Disney instead of Time Warner; SI was reportedly only willing to pay Rick a miserly $1.5 mil a year.

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