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Barry Diller: TV far superior creatively to movies

Television viewers are getting better programming and more choices than they've ever had at a time when industry disruption is likely to lead to consolidation, billionaire media mogul Barry Diller told CNBC on Thursday.

"Television right now creatively is so far superior to movies," said Diller, currently chairman of media and Internet company IAC/InterActive, behind such brands as Ask.com, About.com, Match.com, and video-sharing service Vimeo. "It's not your mother's media any longer." And he should know. He's done it all over a decadeslong career, including chief executive roles at Paramount Pictures, Fox and the QVC shopping network.

In a wide-ranging "Squawk Box" interview on everything from the future of TV to net neutrality, he talked about the transformative nature of today's media landscape.

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"I don't watch linear television anymore, and I haven't for years since the DVR," he said. "I don't watch networks any longer and I think that's true for a growing number of people."

The old model of appointment television is breaking down, as viewers seek out their favorite programs and subject matter when they want it, he added, with the exception of live events.

Movie channels such as HBO have been capitalizing on this notion for a while, along with, more recently, Netflix and Amazon, Diller said.

"Amazon is not doing [video] to benefit advertisers. Essentially the programming, in this case, is the advertising because Amazon only wants to get more people to sign up to Prime," he argued. Subscribers to Amazon Prime get video programming along with a host of other benefits like free shipping on products purchased in the e-commerce giant's ecosystem.

"That's a model no one has ever heard of," he said. "So you can't compete with that if you are out there thinking, 'I got to get ratings. Because if I get ratings, then I can get advertising.' Of course, now there is no pricing power with advertisers anymore because the advertising swish is moving to digital [and] mobile."

Cable and satellite providers are also losing pricing power, he said, which will lead to further consolidation. The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger and the planned AT&T-DirecTV deal are just the beginning, he added. (Comcast owns NBC and CNBC.)

In addition to providing television services, these companies also provide broadband online services, at a time when the government is considering so-called net-neutrality rules to ensure a fair and open Internet.

"This dialogue has been going on for at least 10 years. It has had a wonderful effect ... net neutrality without rule making," Diller said, adding that companies have been doing the right thing all along out of fear of retribution. "I would simply like this argument to go on for another 10 years and everything would be fine."

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