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Big Media CEOs see huge jumps in compensation

Most of the Big Media executive pay reports are out, and it looks like Hollywood CEOs continued to pull in a fortune even as some of their companies struggled.

Viacom continues strategic realignment

Following a company-wide review across its worldwide media networks, filmed entertainment operations and corporate functions, Viacom has announced more elements of its strategic realignment.

Facebook, Vessel to push YouTube to new heights, new models

Facebook, Vessel to push YouTube to new heights, new modelsFacebook is beginning to make inroads into YouTube's domination of the video space—a phenomenon that is likely to only gain steam. But, uptake for Internet video across the board will buoy YouTube's value proposition for a very long time to come, though its business model may change.

Media Analysis

Nielsen: Video and TV usage skyrockets on gaming consoles

The gaming console has become a total entertainment device—and in fact, gaming accounts for only half of the time they spend on their consoles.

OTT carrier billing to generate $14BN

In the ongoing quest to combat the threat of over-the-top (OTT) applications, network operators are looking for ways to distribute cloud-based and mobile content to consumers themselves, bundled with their broadband. And it appears to be paying off.

Cisco backs Innovid in $10MN funding round

Video advertising specialist Innovid has raised $10 million in new capital, which it will use to fund on-going development of interactive advertising for television.

Media Investment

Citi lights up NFLX target price as analysts scratch heads

Netflix as a stock continues to divide investors into love 'em or hate 'em camps. Citi falls into the former, and has upgraded NFLX to a 'buy' rating from 'neutral.'

Netflix flagging margins still point to future decline

SVOD leader Netflix may be seeing record growth, but it continues to struggle with its margins as content costs rise and, says one analyst, profit expectations in its stock price are unrealistically high.

Netflix flips the script on film production financials

Netflix has dove headlong into acquiring the rights to original movies in the last few months, but its deal-structuring with producers and a refusal to pay a percentage of box-office proceeds is shaking up the industry status quo.

Big Media CEOs see huge jumps in compensation

Michelle Clancy

Most of the Big Media executive pay reports are out, and it looks like Hollywood CEOs continued to pull in a fortune even as some of their companies struggled.

In fact, according to analysis from Seeking Alpha,  from Seeking Alpha, CEOs at the top entertainment companies made much more in 2014 than they did a year ago—with the one exception of Viacom founder Sumner Redstone.

Redstone, who is in his 90s and inn failing health, earned 'only' $13.2 million in total compensation last year, down from $36.2 million the prior year while CEO Philippe Dauman on the other hand took in $44.3 million in 2014.

For CBS, Redstone's compensation fell 81% to $10.8 million. That news comes as the future of CBS' ownership remains in question. CBS and Viacom are separate operating entities with the same corporate parent, and have been since they were split in 2006. Redstone's National Amusement owns 80% majority stakes in both. It's expected that Dauman will succeed Redstone; and some anticipate that he will merge media giant Viacom with the broadcaster.

CBS CEO Les Moonves reportedly fears that the move would shortchange CBS minority shareholders, sources say. As a result, he has reportedly been in exploratory discussions with Wall Street financiers about backing a buyout of CBS, which could cost upwards of $2 billion.

But what the analysts called an "eye-opening number among eye-openers" came for Discovery Communications chief David Zaslav, who managed to command a whopping $156 million in total compensation. That's an increase of 368% year over year.

That mainly came from $94 million in new stocks and options (base salary was the more reasonable $3 million). "Tying his salary to the company's results is very much intentional," Seeking Alpha pointed out.

Discovery reported full-year 2014 revenues of $6.27 million, an increase of $730 million, or 13%, compared to 2013. Its fourth-quarter revenues came in at $1.7 million, an increase of $139 million, or 9%, over the fourth quarter a year ago—led by a 17% growth at international networks. For the year, international networks revenue was up 28%, while US networks remained flat.

"The healthy performance of our core business coupled with increasing contributions from our recent strategic acquisitions led to another year of solid operational and financial results and increasing capital returns in 2014," said Zaslav.

Lionsgate's Jon Feltheimer has Zaslav beat on triple-digit growth though. He led gainers with a 400% increase to $63.6 million (paced again by stock options).

Fox's Rupert Murdoch was up a comparatively modest 31%, to $37.9 million, while Fox president Chase Carey drew in $28 million (up 4%).

Bob Iger at Disney pulled in $46.5 million, up 35.6%; Comcast/NBCUniversal CEO Brian Roberts drew $33 million (up 5.1%), and NBCUniversal president Steve Burke gained $33.9M (up 9%).

The news comes for a year of ups and downs for the media giants. Viacom for instance is in the middle of a strategic realignment  following a company-wide review across its worldwide media networks, filmed entertainment operations and corporate functions. Part of that will be the abandonment of select acquired titles, and layoffs. Viacom hasn't specified its plans for workforce reduction yet.

On the positive side, Disney had a strong year."After the epic run shares of Disney have produced and the fact that the company can seemingly do no wrong, it's difficult not to want to be long," said equity analyst Josh Arnold . "Disney has managed to cross-sell its content in many different venues and with recent announcements of upcoming content, that looks set to continue for the foreseeable future."