Last week the Financial Times in the UK featured two striking videos interviewing Barry Diller speaking on media and corporate governance in the US.

Diller’s views are free of a lot of the guff that usually surrounds those subjects. I recommend you watch the videos if you are in the media or Web business, or run a company.  It is not what he says, so much as how he says it. However if you know about Diller’s career, you are more likely to value what he says.

Here’s what Diller has to say on audience attention spans:

People’s attention spans are getting shorter. They have been getting shorter long before the internet. Go, look at a movie today. Go look at Lawrence of Arabia, a brilliant, wonderful movie of the 70’s and look at it today, and it is now a bit like watching paint dry, as beautiful as it is. Whereas when it was there, in its time, it was riveting, piece by piece.

For decades Diller has been one of the smartest and best paid executives in the US. From 1974 to 1984 he was the head of Paramount Pictures. From 1984 to 1992 he ran Fox, Inc (owner of the Fox movie studio and the Fox television network) for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. As trivia, that’s when Fox greenlighted The Simpsons.

Diller is an interesting character because as early as the mid-1990s he crossed over from old to new media. More than 10 years on, he is Chairman and CEO of IAC / InterActiveCorp which has established, developed or acquired a collection of internet businesses, including:

So what are the thoughts of Chairman Diller today? Both video interviews are at the Financial Times, UK website. If your bandwidth is too low for video, then you can read the interview transcript here.

In the first of the two videos Diller speaks on some current issues in the contest between interactive media ventures versus traditional or establishment media. In the second video Diller says America’s competitive edge is threatened by the level and nature of corporate governance trends and attitudes.

Noric Dilanchian