My pal John Heilemann’s NY magazine column on Diller is out today. A fun read. From it:
Consider: When Diller, with Murdoch’s what-the-hell backing, started the Fox network, he was up against a troika—ABC, NBC, and CBS—with virtually 100 percent of the prime-time audience. The Big Three had deep pools of talent, vast resources, and a hammerlock on national advertisers. To any sane observer, they looked granite-solid, impregnable.
Fast-forward to today and it’s déjà vu all over again. In the booming search business, you have another apparently indomitable Big Three in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. (AOL is No. 4, but everyone assumes, Dick Parsons’s protestations notwithstanding, it will soon become an appendage of either Google or Microsoft.) The new Big Three account for 83 percent of Web searches. Having developed a ludicrously profitable form of advertising, they are making money by the bucketload. They have deep pools of talent, vast resources, and, as they are quick to tell you, impossibly high IQs.