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Why I'd Rather Be a Media Gazillionaire CEO Than the POTUS

Jon Friedmans Media Matrix By Jon Friedman | Jon Friedmans Media Matrix May 9, 2013 at 4:23PM

Why I'd Rather Be a Media Gazillionaire CEO Than the POTUS
Very nice work if you can get it

Being a media CEO is better than winning a presidential election. You get to hang out with TV, music and movie stars. You get your name in the papers for showing up at glamorous black-tie dinners. You get the best seats for every show and ball game. You don’t have to worry about Iraq and the deficit. And you have those mammoth paychecks. (Silly me, I buried the lead)

What do media CEOs do to merit the eye-popping compensation packages?

Yes, the operating margins for successful entertainment operations are impressive, but … come on!

You have to wonder why shareholders of these public companies don’t squawk more loudly and often about it.

But we know why, of course: As long as the stockholders themselves are making good money on their investments, perhaps that is all they care about and maybe it is all that they should worry about.

Naturally, once their return on investment slips, they will get worked up. That never changes, right? If Gutenberg had cranked out one less notice a week from his new printing press, his backers would have taken him to task, too.

It’s the nettlesome print media that usually causes a fuss in the first place about this situation. Think about it.

You can’t REALLY expect television-news outlets to shine a light on this subject because it’s possible that their boss is among those cashing in so handsomely.

I doubt that (m)any broadcasters would do much shouting when his or her head could be on the chopping block, if one of them stirred up the shareholders about how much dough the boss is taking home.  

The top 20 companies in the United States rated by market capitalization don’t include any media entities. But according to statistics compiled for the New York Times by Equilar, which comes up with these fascinating data on executive compensation, media companies house seven of the top 20 highest paid chief executive officers.

The Times goes on to point out that the folks are well known and the pay is gargantuan: Leslie Moonves of CBS ($60,253,647), David Zaslav of Discovery Communications ($49,932,867), Robert Iger of Walt Disney ($37,103,208), Philippe Dauman of Viacom ($33,396,104), Jeffrey Bewkes of Time Warner ($25,670,263), Brian Roberts of Comcast ($25,087,379), and Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation ($22,418,292).

Moonves was the third-highest paid executive in 2012, topped by Larry Ellison, who garnered $96.2 million as leader of Oracle, and Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard whose recently disclosed arrangement reached $64.9 million (although,the Times notes, a good deal of it will be paid in stock options that vest over five years).

Nice work if you can get it!