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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hello! Welcome back to EnglishClass101.com. This is Culture Class, Season 3, Lesson 14 - The Top 5 CEOs in Entertainment. I’m Becky.
Eric: And I’m Eric. It's great to be here with you, listeners!
Becky: What are we looking at in this lesson?
Eric: In this lesson, we'll look at which CEOs in the entertainment industry are the most influential, successful, and powerful.
Becky: There were lots of people to choose from on this list, so we had to be pretty specific. We hope you like it!
Eric: Let’s get to it!
Becky: Number 5 in our Top 5 CEOs in Entertainment is Rupert Murdoch.
Eric: Now, Rupert Murdoch might not be the most reputable CEO on our list, but he is certainly fantastically successful.
Becky: That’s right. Currently, Rupert Murdoch has a net value of over $8 billion and owns newspapers, magazines, and TV channels in multiple countries around the world. His yearly salary is roughly $22 million.
Eric: However, most of his newspapers are again, less than reputable. These kinds of newspapers are called tabloids and they usually report on sensational things, but are not held to the same standards of quality as other newspapers.
Becky: That’s right. For example, Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News. One day, one of the commentators stated that GE had sold parts for making bombs to terrorists in Iraq.
Eric: GE immediately requested proof of the accusation and the commentator admitted that he had no proof.
Becky: So the question is, if you don’t have proof, why would you accuse someone of something so criminal?
Eric: And I don’t have an answer to that other than to say that most of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, magazines and TV networks do similar things. They make accusations that they can’t prove.
Becky: I also heard of a scandal involving one of his newspapers, News of the World. His reporters hacked into people’s phones, including celebrities, victims of the London bombings, and a girl who was missing and later found dead. The newspaper is now shut down.
Eric: Right. Part of the problem with a lot of Murdoch’s publications is they want to make news entertaining. Sometimes they go too far to get a story or make one up altogether.
Becky: But that doesn’t mean that everything they say is wrong. Some of their news reporting is very accurate and has scientific proof behind it.
Eric: However, since it’s often mixed with what many people would call sleaze or bias, it’s difficult to know what’s true news and what’s just sensationalism.
Becky: But no one can deny that Rupert Murdoch has been very successful.
Eric: That’s for sure. And just as a reminder, Rupert Murdoch also owns 20th Century Fox, which produced the film Avatar. But now on to our number 4.
Becky: Number 4 of our Top 5 CEOs in Entertainment is Mike White.
Eric: Mike White is the chairman, President, and CEO of DirecTV and makes about $33 million per year. That’s $11 million per year more than Rupert Murdoch.
Becky: However, Mike White’s net worth isn’t even 1% of Rupert Murdoch’s net worth, so they’re certainly on a different scale there.
Eric: However, Mike White is also very good at what he does. Since 2009, DirecTV has consistently performed well and grown in both number of customers and number of employees.
Becky: Their services are also expanding every year. At this rate, DirecTV will offer more services than any other satellite or cable company in the USA very soon.
Eric: For his hard work he was awarded stock options, a performance bonus, and “other” compensation. I don’t know what the “other” was but it was probably things like expense and travel reimbursements.
Becky: Mike White is still young, so he doesn’t have the portfolio of some of the others on this list, but he’s certainly promising.
Eric: That’s right. We’ll see what he brings to the table in a few years. Who’s next on our list?
Becky: Number 3 of our Top 5 CEOs in Entertainment is Jeff Bewkes.
Eric: Jeff Bewkes is the chairman, CEO, and president of Time Warner, Inc. He earned an MBA from Stanford School of Business and he owns considerable stock in Time Warner.
Becky: You may not have heard of Time Warner, but you’ve probably heard of HBO, Warner Brothers, and New Line Cinema. Time Warner owns all of these networks.
Eric: Time Warner is also the owner of Turner Broadcasting, which oversees CNN, TNT, and Cartoon Network.
Becky: He's also worked for AOL, TNT, Warner Brothers, and the WB network. But probably one of the most interesting things about Jeff is how little is known about him.
Eric: That' right. He's a private man and at 60 years old, the only thing you can find about him are his professional accomplishments. We couldn't even find out if he was married.
Becky: But his professional accomplishments are considerable. Jeff Bewkes makes about $19 million per year, but with the performance-based bonuses and yearly stock option awards, it’s much closer to $27 million dollars. That's about 27 times more than the average CEO in entertainment.
Eric: Okay, next on our list is Phillipe Dauman.
Becky: That’s right. Number 2 of our Top 5 CEOs in Entertainment is Phillipe Dauman.
Eric: Phillipe Dauman is the president and CEO of Viacom. Viacom is a global mass media company involved specifically in cable TV and cinema. They do lots of other things, but that’s their focus.
Becky: Phillipe Dauman has been the CEO and president of Viacom since 2006, and he’s been on their executive committee since 1994.
Eric: His yearly earnings including salary and bonuses are around $35 million, and he owns millions of dollars of stock in many different companies.
Becky: He’s also one of the founding members of the Get Schooled initiative that helps individuals, particularly youth, graduate from high school then plan and prepare for college.
Eric: It was started by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and motivates around 1 million youth and adults to progress through their schooling.
Becky: It’s a pretty cool initiative that uses popular media and celebrities to inspire, teach, and motivate.
Eric: He’s also a director of the KIPP Program, which is a nation-wide college prep school directed toward areas of the country that have few educational resources.
Becky: Which brings us to our number 1.
Eric: That’s right! Number 1 of our Top 5 CEOs in Entertainment is Robert Iger.
Becky: If you remember from a previous lesson, Robert Iger is the President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and has been since 2005.
Eric: Many argue that Iger saved Disney from a significant slowdown and possible shutdown under the previous CEO, Michael Eisner.
Becky: That’s right. Under Eisner, Pixar was still an independent company and was looking for someone else to distribute their films. Iger saved the deal with Pixar and in the end purchased Pixar for over $7 billion.
Eric: The deal placed John Lasseter as the chief creative officer of Disney’s animation studios. Over the last ten years, Lasseter has written and produced some beloved movies, like Toy Story, Cars, Wall-E, and Bolt.
Becky: And Iger was smart enough to recognize Lasseter’s talent and keep him with Disney.
Eric: Iger is also on the board of directors for Apple, and one of Apple’s top executives is on Disney’s board of directors.
Becky: Why Apple? Well, it’s because Steve Jobs was the founder of Pixar and when Pixar was purchased by Disney, Steve Jobs became the largest single shareholder in Disney.
Eric: And it was Iger who allowed TV content from ABC to be available on the iTunes store.
Becky: Iger has a yearly income including salary, stock, options, and bonuses of about $30 million.
Eric: Okay, that’s all for this lesson.
Becky: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time!
Eric: Bye!