Washington

Diller: Cash Keeps Hollywood Quiet On Net Neutrality

Says its never been a town that "thought of the day after tomorrow" 9/14/2011 09:14:18 PM Eastern

IAC Chairman Barry Diller said Hollywood wasn't making much noise over the issue of network neutrality because they are getting paid. At a Paley Center forum Wednesday, Diller was asked how the FCC was doing on the issue and what the vested interests in the room, media and finance, should be told.

"I think we need to do it. We still haven't done it," he said. The FCC is even now preparing to submit its new network neutrality rules to the Federal Register for publication, then they become effective 60 days after that.

But Dillers's point was that even that was a brokered solution between the net neutrality side and telcos. "I still think that what we need, is absolutely, particularly, in the chaos that is going to come, very clear rules that say there is no intermediator in terms of the data you are provided at whatever the charge rate is for the data you are provided, and the provider."

Given so many creators in Hollywood with so many channels and voices, why isn't anyone screaming about the issue, asked moderator Jason Hirschhorn of Media reDEFined. "Because they are all getting paid. For whatever reason, people are too rich, too busy, too engaged. This has never been a town that has ever thought much about the day after tomorrow."

Diller said that Comcast was one company that was thinking about the day after tomorrow, which is why it was so strongly opposed to network neutrality. "What do they want. They would certainly like to charge the consumer for data, and they do, and their margins are quite large, but they would like to charge anyone else they can."

That includes "extracting" equity from content providers, or as he put it, "the reason anyone would want to pay them." Diller said consumption pricing for broadband is coming, just like electricity, and says that is a "kind of natural thing" and "you think that is what it ought to be."

Diller said that is why anyone who is on the product side or the consumer side should absolutely say that net neutrality "is on the side of the angels."

Diller said that digital companies who don't need the capital of traditional businesses have historically been wary of any regulation on theory on let's not regulate anything on the theory that they may want to own it. He said he has not seen much "other than from those who were there at the beginning and are publishers and people who care about the Internet as a place and form and who realize how lucky they are that this thing started in a way. It was completely open. There were no toll takers. There was nobody in control. But those 'preservationists' are not a loud enough voice."

But Diller suggested that he did not see a blocking trend in any event. "One way or the other, I am fairly content that it [the net] won't be invaded."

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