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Hollywood Suffering? Why Are Their Execs Making More Than Pretty Much Everyone Else?

from the cost-cutting dept

We keep hearing the MPAA and others talk about how much Hollywood is suffering from piracy and how they can't fund new movies and how they're having to lay people off. And then there's this, suggesting something else may be going on:
Consider: the top 20 companies in the United States ranked by market capitalization include no media companies. But according to figures assembled for The New York Times by Equilar, which compiles data on executive compensation, media companies employ seven of the top 20 highest paid chief executives.

The names are familiar and the numbers are large: Leslie Moonves of CBS ($60,253,647), David M. Zaslav of Discovery Communications ($49,932,867), Robert A. Iger of Walt Disney ($37,103,208), Philippe P. Dauman of Viacom ($33,396,104), Jeffrey L. Bewkes of Time Warner ($25,670,263), Brian L. Roberts of Comcast ($25,087,379), and Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation ($22,418,292).
Basically, the study showed that media companies might not be as big as companies in other industries, but they pay their execs way more. Basically, the top execs in the media business make much more than comparable execs in other industries, even if the companies those execs work for are doing much better:
The data indicates that average pay of the 10 highest paid chief executives for media companies was about $30 million, more than the captains of technology or finance and other industries, who average $6 million to $14 million less.
A few years ago, a friend who worked in the movie industry told me that the industry changed completely when the top executives started thinking that they were the stars. Suddenly, the focus shifted from making good entertainment to making sure they were the highest paid people around, and making sure that everyone knew it. I thought it was just a random comment at the time, but the data suggests that there's at least something to the idea that media execs have way outsized salaries.

Either way, though, it does seem somewhat ridiculous to see any of the folks on the list above complaining that their business is in trouble when they're pulling down salaries like that.

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  • icon
    Akari Mizunashi (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 7:56am

    Of course they're being paid more. When these businesses hire lawyers to shake down $2k+ from people, why sell DVDs and airtime when it's much more profitable to screw over innocent consumers (some are even dead!).

    I suspect a raise will occur this year, since business is booming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TheLastCzarnian (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 3:40pm

      Re:

      I always thought that there was supposed to be a board of directors to protect the interests of stockholders and keep obvious stupidity like this from occuring. Perhaps we should take a hard look at who is on those boards.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Atkray (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 11:20am

    Duh. They are paid more because the work harder

    Fighting pirates is hard work, not everyone can do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jay (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 12:44pm

      Their standards... TF2 style

      Piracy's a good job, mate...

      Challenging work, plenty of computer hours...

      And at the end of the day, someone's going to want someone jailed.

      ICE raids house

      Oh my...

      Feelings? Feelings are for men that bludgeon their wives to death. Professionals have standards.

      For example... Be efficient. Be polite...

      Have a plan to screw everyone you meet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 1:00pm

    Enough to pay 5000 average citizens

    Those 7 salaries combined make up ~5000 average citizen wages (@$50k/ea)...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 16 May 2013 @ 10:27am

      Re: Enough to pay 5000 average citizens

      well, 50k would be about twice the 'average' salary of most...
      i'm pretty sure approx 50k is the average of two-income households...

      so, even more worserer...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheLoot (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Outrageous salaries for do-nothing execs do more economic harm than anything else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      The power of headhunters and their mantras:

      "Structurally you have to pay "the man" 3 to 5 % of the companys total turnover. Anyone earning less are just not competitive in this world where good leadership is extremely rare..."
      "Your company is going down? Well, you didn't find the right man for the job so now we have to find him and pay him what he wants!"
      "Normal salary? Hah, stock options, bonuses, gifts and special perks are far more cost-efficient."
      "The only way to get the right person is to cover all bases:
      Put him on a timed deal:
      - He gets fired? Golden parachute.
      - He walks? A bit less compensation (we might find him another match to compensate).
      - He is running the company into bankrupcy? Cover his ass as much as possible.
      - He runs the term out and does well? Continue with current contract.
      - He runs the term out and doesn't do well? Improve compensation to improve motivation or hire someone more expensive."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 1:03pm

    sounds like a general elitist mindset. There are the people who are unable to cognate that a 2 hour movie doesn't have to cost millions and millions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    roger, 15 May 2013 @ 1:12pm

    That's where the smart money is...

    ...in industries being "decimated" by piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Larry, 15 May 2013 @ 2:12pm

      Re: That's where the smart money is...

      Decimated. Most folks don't seem to know what that means. Seems like you just might.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        harbingerofdoom (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 2:41pm

        Re: Re: That's where the smart money is...

        decimated- latin in its origin meaning removal of a tenth.

        the particular group would be devided into tenths and each group would use some method to select which group would be executed. it didnt matter if everyone in that group was culpable or to what degree their responsibility their parts were. if they were selected the entire group was executed (while those responsible may have also gone free, but usually not) as a warning to the rest.

        given the 'sue your customers into the ground' attitude media seems to have these days, decimated may very well be an apt term... to apply to their customer base.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re: That's where the smart money is...

        Perhaps we should apply the Roman meaning of decimation to the top 10 highest paid movie execs.

        On second thoughts, the remaining 9 would gladly get rid of one of their own to reduce competition.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Gee, they could single-handedly make two or three of those $100 million movies bob likes to watch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 15 May 2013 @ 1:26pm

    The answer's right there

    These execs get paid more than those of the companies that have a higher market cap, therefore their company's market caps are too low. That can't be their fault, or they wouldn't be paid so much, so it must be something outside their companies - piracy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 1:26pm

    It's not just the movie industry, CEO pay compared to worker pay has gotten extremely imbalanced compared to what it was 50+ years ago. Back then it wasn't that uncommon for the big CEO of giant companies to live in the same neighborhood in a house of a similar size as most of their employees. Not anymore though, unless the company is a small business.

    Plus, CEO pay has gone up consistently in both good times (if you don't pay us more we'll go somewhere else paying better!) and bad times (I deserve extra pay for running this company as well as I am during a recession!).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violated (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 1:40pm

    Waste

    Yet more hypocrisy by the copyright cartels having the highest paid executives around. Had the industry really been going through a hard time then leadership begins with a personal salary cut to say "hey workers, hard time, but we are all in this together".

    The USA is a strange place when they treat their movie stars like us British treat our Royalty. Acting in the UK is largely different when it is just a job commanding a fair wage and where indeed many can boost their income by adding pantomime and such.

    Well fame is a disease and much of the movie and music world is all about making stars. Sure pay them a fortune not because they are worth the wage but because fame and fortune gets the young and foolish dreaming to follow in their footsteps. They even tap the wages of the more minor workers just to make their one true glamorous star even richer.

    With monopolies raping the market at extreme prices then sure a lot of money goes around. I have always believe there must be huge wastage in the industry where movie budget growths seem to confirm this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 1:41pm

    it's not just the execs. i bet just about everyone is getting more but it isn't just from earnings. you need to remember all the monies that have been gained via law suits that were done in order to protect and reimburse the artists when actually not one received a dime! and dont forget either that Congress is doing whatever Hollywood etc says (for fear of Dodd removing all the funding that they get) under the lies of 'we are losing millions of dollars to pirates! there are jobs being lost in the thousands every week ! how can we possibly carry on contributing to the economy under these circumstances? bring in stricter laws and harsher punishments for infringers! oh! forgot! we have tax breaks when no one else does and we dont hire anyone any more! damn! forgot about that!'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 1:43pm

    hollywood is suffering as they do not have all the money yet. Pirates are stopping this process.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SkipM (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 2:14pm

    Saw a comment relative to newspapers that might apply. If you are stuck in a dying business model the best you can do is drive it profitably to death.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), 15 May 2013 @ 2:15pm

    It's like that banks going hat in hand looking for tax payer money to bail them out all the while paying their executives 7 figure salaries and bonuses.

    This is Western Capitalism at work, people. Corrupt, broken and failing 99% of the population.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 3:25pm

    There has not been but one year when the movie theaters reported to their stockholders, that those years have been banner, record breaking, all time highs in profit; totally wiping out the 'but pirates' theme.

    The one year it didn't make a new record breaker, it was 4% below a new record.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 3:33pm

    Hollywood Logic

    Those who are afraid they might get lung cancer should have their lungs removed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 7:04pm

    Not even out_of_the_lube's bothering to challenge the data, for all the anti-corporateness he claims to be.

    Or maybe he's not actually anti-corporate and so he doesn't need to challenge the data. Mission accomplished, and all that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2013 @ 7:47pm

    I think they're in the wrong business. They should just move on to the business of producing shitty movies then extorting people who share it.

    They could insert some gay porn. Then they could threaten to call your neighbors and inform them you like to watch freaky porn, unless you pay up of course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RyanNerd (profile), 16 May 2013 @ 7:16am

    Notice Something?

    Where are all the pro-copyright trolls?
    Hey, I don't blame you for remaining silent. It's a bit hard to defend overreaching MPAA thugs when their bosses are paid so excessively. Where these execs are running around like idiots yelling that they are being robbed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tywebb (profile), 16 May 2013 @ 8:32am

    Right, it's just Hollywood. Not Pirate Mike's benefactors as well?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130424/us-google-executive-compensation/?utm_hp_ref=a rts&ir=arts

    If the fact that movie execs are paid so handsomely makes some feel justified in breaking the law, well, more power to them. Let's face it, they were going to do it anyway because copyright term is too long, the evil companies won't let you watch Game of Thrones for free, you can't resell your MP3s you bought on iTunes, etc, etc, etc.

    As usual, just another pointless attack against Hollywood by Pirate Mike. Nothing to see here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2013 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      Whats funny is you just proved Mike's point. He mentioned that on average that they make around 6 - 14 million less. Those 4 made a combined total of 124 million. So on average they made 31 million. That is 30 million less then the CEO of CBS.

      As usual, just another pointless attack against Mike by an uniformed bystander. Nothing to see here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2013 @ 10:50pm

      Re:

      @tywebb

      Arrrrr! Methinks ye wish ye war PirateMike. Fightin tha gud fight! Tiltin at Hollywood windmills n tuppin tha wenches!

      Instead yur livin a life dull n dreary, shillin fur Hollywood and gettin paid jus pennys for each pound o flesh ye extract.

      Be a pirate! Yar! Ye won't regret it! Jus push tha button, yur bosses r doin it! Why don yu?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    tywebb (profile), 16 May 2013 @ 9:34am

    I actually don't think Mike had a point other than to bash Hollywood, yet again. And those 4 Google executives mentioned were not the Chief executives of the company. No, their CEO can afford to work for nothing as he already has $20 billion in the bank. I'm sure the fact that their CEO lists his compensation as $1 skews the overall picture of compensation in the tech sector. Regardless, this is all a distraction designed to further Pirate Mike's sole focus of criticizing the greedy content industries that are driven by nothing but profits and get off on screwing their customers whenever they can. I'm gonna go steal some shit from Wal-Mart this afternoon, because they pay their CEO too much. Sound about right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2013 @ 11:33pm

      Re:

      Go ahead! Rip off Walmart! Just make sure you only steal the stuff that says "Made by Starving 5yr olds in a Chinese sweatshop" on it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2013 @ 9:39am

    Unintended consequences of "Hollywood Accounting"....

    What's not obvious, is that this is probably a direct correlation of "Hollywood Accounting" methods...

    By making an independent corporation for each movie, and shifting a large portion of revenue and expense to those corporations (which the Media Execs are not the CEO's of) the studios are actually not accurately reflecting their true "market cap". This is intentionally done to avoid showing the profit and having to pay those who they tricked into signing for a portion of net profits rather than gross receipts.

    I'm not saying that the exec's pay is not excessive (anything over 10 times the lowest full time paid employee is excessive), just that the comparison is not entirely accurate due to "Hollywood Accounting", but don't expect them to change things anytime soon...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RyanNerd (profile), 16 May 2013 @ 9:53am

    Hey Look

    I goaded the trolls.

    No reasonable human would sympathize with, let alone believe a CEO making an average of 31 Million shouting that because of piracy he is being robbed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    hp, 17 May 2013 @ 8:12am

    It's only natural

    Natural born usurers by any other name and every other way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 17 May 2013 @ 9:25am

    Well, if it wasn't for piracy they'd be getting at least a thousand times more (!!!). Those poor execs...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JTD, 5 Jun 2013 @ 7:08am

    Then Don't Play By Their Rules

    I'll fight Hollywood any and every way I can.
    I no longer go to movies.
    I no longer buy DVD movies.

    I love the way they blame piracy. I bet publishers will be using the same scapegoats, too, as if copying books is anything new.

    Back in the 70s I used to use a cassette recorder to tape songs off of the radio. I'd like to see them jail me for music piracy based on that!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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