Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp (and Expedia) spoke at SXSW Interactive today here in Austin about a variety of media-related
In response to all of the big valuations we’ve seen lately (Twitter, Groupon, etc.), he said, “What interests me is starting businesses on our own – finding ideas that
we can support, and simply investing in invention or ideas, and not in chasing crowds.”
“I’ve never been an investor,” he added. “I got into the Internet very early – very lucky.”
“I think for everybody here [SXSW], what I like so much about this place is that so many people here are essentially following their curiosity…They’re enabled by a miracle – the Internet is a miracle.”
He then discussed the Newsweek/Daily Beast parntership. “We started the Daily Beast because we said nobody was out there – no place yet that had actually a journalist’s [an old media process] that was in the rhythm of the Internet, he said, adding that it’s not an aggregation site, and stressing that it brought a truly old world, journalistic discipline to the Internet.
“Along comes Newsweek,” he said. “Which was becoming more and more irrelevant as a weekly news magazine” when news flashes at the speed of typing a few keys and at the
push of a button. He said, at the Daily Beast, they had longer pieces – deeper things they wanted to cover, so they took the DNA of the Beast and infused it into the print book.
He admitted that he doesn’t know if it will work. “We’ll see in six or eight months,” he said.
The discussion then moved to iPad-only publications – namely “The Daily”.
Diller said he finds it amazing that they put out such a product, and spent so much promoting it, and made it so hard to actually use, recalling that he had to download it on his PC before getting it on his iPad. “That does not seem to me like a contemporary product,” he said.
He pondered why News Corp. would put out an original product for any single platform. “In today’s world that sounds kind of nuts,” he said. “Apple likes it if you pay them. That’s what Apple likes… they invented a gadget. Until that gadget gets superceded by others, which will happen, their closed system will work.”
He then admitted to owning an iPad 2, saying that it is better than the original, but adding that the latest Kindle is better than the original too.