Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav brought home $156.08 million, while the Lionsgate CEO’s comp was $63.6 million last year, but other media moguls made more too
After a turbulent year for entertainment and media companies — the Sony hack, a net neutrality fight, attempted mergers and acquisitions — volatility in executive pay overall appears to have gone off script.
The 2014 pace-setter so far is Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer“>Jon Feltheimer, whose compensation ballooned to a massive $63.6 million — up 400 percent from 2013’s $12.6 million — on the heels of the success of the fiscal year’s “Hunger Games” installment and fuelled by Feltheimer’s stock options. Even Disney’s Bob Iger couldn’t compete with that — though his compensation also soared 35 percent. On the flip side, ailing media mogul Sumner Redstone’s compensation is down 65 percent from last year $13.2 million.
Meanwhile Apple CEO Tim Cook — the biggest company in the world — doubled his salary, but still made just $9 million.
But don’t feel bad for anyone on our annual list: No person on TheWrap‘s roster of Hollywood’s highest 2014 earners will starve anytime soon, and most are up significantly from the previous and comparable 12-month fiscal period.
The following is a list of executive compensation details from 2014 from corporate SEC filings. Some performance or stock-price based compensations are related to fiscal 2014 performance, while others are a barometer of a company’s showing in 2013 or even earlier.
To compare the below figures with previous years’, click through our previous annual reports:
AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan’s compensation blasted up nearly 323 percent to $40.3 million in 2014, from $9.5 million the prior year. The jump primarily stemmed from stock awards valued at $29.8 million, up from $2.2 million in 2013. Sapan’s salary increased relatively slightly to $2 million from $1.28 million in 2013, while his non-equity incentive plan compensation rose from $5.9 million to $8.4 million.
In a proxy statement to the SEC, the company cited acquisition of Chellomedia providing distribution to over 390 million subscribers in over 130 countries and entering a joint-venture agreement with BBC Worldwide Americas and acquiring 49.9-percent controlling interest in BBC America as contributing to its incentive-based compensation increases for executives.
“During 2014, the Company continued to perform well, and we remain well positioned to capitalize on future opportunities. In determining compensation for 2014, the Compensation Committee considered the strong growth the Company achieved in 2014,” the report said, noting 36.7 percent year-over-year net revenue growth and 105-percent shareholder return from June 16, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2014.
(Updated: April 29, 2015, 8 p.m. ET)
Yahoo CEO Marissa A. Mayer’s compensation shot up nearly 70 percent from 2013 to 2014, increasing from $24.9 million to $42.1 million.
“A substantial portion of Ms. Mayer’s equity awards that appear as 2014 compensation in the Summary Compensation Table are the performance-based options approved by the Compensation Committee in 2012 as part of her recruitment package,” the company explained in a proxy statement filed April 29, 2015.
The year marked the company’s third consecutive year of delivering returns to shareholders, the company reported.
“Our stock has nearly tripled in value since Ms. Mayer was hired as our CEO, rising from $15.65 on July 16, 2012 (her hire date) to $44.13 on April 1, 2015, significantly outperforming the Nasdaq-100 index for this period of time by over 100 percent,” the company noted in highlights from the report.
Mayer’s salary remained unchanged at $1 million, but her stock awards ballooned from $8.3 million to $11.8 million, her option awards similarly rose from $13.8 million to $28.2 million, while her non-equity incentive plan compensation decreased slightly from $1.7 million to $1.1 million and all other compensation similarly declined relatively modestly.
(Updated: April 24, 2015, 5:25 p.m. ET)
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made $610,455 in 2014, down from $653,165 in 2013. That represents a 6.5 percent decline from 2013.
Zuckerberg’s salary remained at $1, with the rest falling under “all other compensation.” Don’t feel sorry for the young executive, however; Zuckerberg made his billions years ago, with Facebook’s May 2012 IPO, solidifying his Forbes list status.
Naturally, all the executives around Zuckerberg made millions last year: COO Sheryl Sandberg made the most in reported executive compensation, totaling $15.5 million. And why not? Facebook revenue roared to $12.5 billion in 2014, up from 2013’s $7.9 billion. Profit basically doubled year-over-year; shareholder earnings naturally followed suit.
The CEO of few words summarized the year us thus: “We got a lot done in 2014. Our community continues to grow, and we’re making progress toward connecting the world.”
(Updated: April 24, 2015, 4:30 p.m. ET)
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes took in $32.9 million in 2014, a relatively modest 1.2 percent increase from his $32.5 million take in 2013. Most of the executive’s individual compensation categories stayed pretty much as flat as his overall pay did.
This time around, Bewkes’s stock awards were down, though option awards were up. The chief exec made a little more money in non-equity incentive plan compensation than he did the prior year, saw his pension value change to the tune of $245,560, and made about 60 grand higher than 2013 under the catch-all category “all other compensation.”
Bewkes was pleased with his company’s performance in 2014, which saw three of Turner’s networks — TBS, TNT and Adult Swim — rank among ad-supported cable’s Top 10 networks in primetime among adults 18-49.
“We had another very successful year in 2014, with solid revenue growth and robust 18 percent adjusted EPS growth — our sixth consecutive year of at least high-teens adjusted EPS growth,” Bewkes said following the fiscal year end.
Last year, Time Warner returned $6.6 billion to shareholders.
(Updated: April 23, 2015, 9:57 a.m. ET)
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht earned a total of $2.5 million in 2014, way less than his $30.5 million compensation package in 2013 — 92 percent less, as a matter of fact.
Pretty much the entirety of that decline comes from a massive options awards take in 2013, to the tune of $27.9 million. The only other change for Albrecht year-over-year was $137,500 less in non-equity incentive plan compensation.
For Q4 2014, Starz grew both earnings and subscribers, topping Wall Street forecasts in the process. The numbers were also up from the end quarter of 2013, primarily due to rate increases from various distributors. That said, for the full fiscal year 2014, Starz revenue was $1.664 billion, down from 2013’s $1.778 billion. However, profit and earnings per share rose year-over-year.
When December came to a close, Starz boasted 23.3 million subscribers — a new high. It also lapped Showtime for the first time ever by that all-important metric.
“The 2014 performance at Starz validates the strategy undertaken to transform the company from primarily a movie-based provider to a true gold standard premium entertainment provider,” Albrecht said at the time.
Time Inc. boss Joseph A. Ripp made a rounded $5.8 million in 2014. That sum consisted of a $1 million base salary, a $1.1 million bonus, another $1.1 million in stock, $1.25 million in options and yet another $1.1 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation.
The chairman and chief executive officer made 35.6 percent less in the most recently measured year than he did in 2013, when Ripp joined the company in its top job and earned $9 million overall. While he received more in salary, bonus and non-equity incentive plan compensation this time around, those increases were more than offset by a sizable decrease in stock and options, which surely lured him to the position.
Time Inc., which spun off from Time Warner in mid 2014, closed fiscal 2014 on a sour note, down across-the-board financially, and even missed Wall Street’s expectations. The company had an up-and-down short year from a stock trading perspective, with a particularly rough fall.
In 2014, Ripp outperformed his target bonus of $1.5 million. For the current year, Ripp received a $100,000 salary raise, and his target bonus remains 150 percent of that new number.
Twitter CEO Richard Costolo made $175,399 in 2014. Yes, you’re reading that right — the social media company chief doesn’t pull in nearly what some of these other media moguls make annually. That sum translates to a 34.7 percent rise from 2013, when he took home $130,250.
In 2012, Costolo reeled in $11.5 million, thanks to stock and option awards.
Costolo’s 2014 salary was a mere $13,892. The bulk of his all-in compensation was classified under “all other compensation.” Like other startup leaders — i.e. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, whose 2014 take has yet to be released — Costolo’s holdings are more important than his earnings. So don’t feel too sorry for the executive — that is, unless TWTR becomes a penny stock.
Twitter’s revenue more than doubled in 2014 versus the prior year, and its net income turned from a loss to a profit. That said, the company’s rate of user growth slowed down by the end of 2014, creating a challenge for Costolo and company.
Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori netted $23 million in 2014, his second year with the company. That dollar amount was up 162.7 percent from 2013. The announcement that the former Discovery Communications chief operating officer was joining Tribune Media didn’t even come until mid January 2013, when he started.
Still, that’s a heck of a nice jump — and the executive can thank his stock options package for most of it. That form of compensation accounted for $11.6 million in 2014, which was more than $10 million more than the previous year. Liguori’s salary had a slight uptick, his bonus went down from $1.75 million to zilch. But his stock awards basically doubled to $8.4 million, and he added another $1.5 million in non-equity incentive compensation.
Tribune Media closed fiscal 2014 with a big rise in profits, revenue and earnings per share versus 2013’s final quarter. As a result, the company’s board of directors authorized and declared a special $650 million April 9 cash dividend of $6.73 per share on the company’s Class A common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common stock and Class B common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common stock. In addition, holders of warrants will receive a cash payment equal to the amount of the dividend paid per common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common share for each share of common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common/”>common stock such warrants are exercisable into.
In August 2014, the former Tribune Company rebranded, as it spun off its publishing business.
Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox, brought home a total of $29.2 million from that company alone in 2014, up a few hundred thousand dollars from 2013. Though his salary dipped by $1 million (or was shifted to his News Corp. paycheck, depending on how you want to look at it) and non-equity incentive decreased by more than twice that (same idea, see below), those drops were more than offset by an increase in Murdoch’s pension/deferred compensation and an uptick in stock awards. Throw in his News Corp. take and the media mogul had a nice 2014.
The company 21st Century Fox itself posted revenue of $31.87 billion for 2014, increasing 15 percent year-over-year and topping Wall Street forecasts. The increase was primarily due to increases in subscription, affiliate fees, content and advertising revenues — it certainly helped having 2014’s Super Bowl.
On the big screen, Murdoch credited the global box office successes of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Rio 2” and “The Fault in Our Stars” for contributing to the particularly strong end to the company’s year.
As executive chairman of News Corp., Murdoch can add $8.7 million to his other haul. That breaks down to $1 million in salary, $5 million or so in stock awards and about $2.7 million in non-equity incentive plan monies. All this money coming in combined, Murdoch’s executive compensation rose 31.1 percent year-over-year.
For that new company’s first standalone year, revenues of $8.57 billion represented a four percent decrease. News Corp as it now stands split from Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment media company in June 2013.
Though Carey’s base salary stayed exactly the same year-over-year, his stock awards and non-equity incentive dipped, a $3.1 million change in pension/deferred comp more than made up for the decreases.
In addition to the reasons stated above in Murdoch’s section, Fox’s 34 percent increase in subscription revenues was primarily due to the effect of the consolidation of Sky Deutschland from January 2013. Its 17 percent increase in affiliate fees for fiscal 2014 was principally attributable to higher average rates per subscriber across most cable channels and the acquisition of majority interests in the YES Network and Fox Sports Asia (formerly ESPN Star Sports), among others.
Apple CEO Tim Cook made $9.2 million in 2014, more than doubling his total take from 2013 ($4.3 million). Want a specific number? Sure: Cook took in 113 percent more this time around. His earnings rose in each of three categories: salary, non-equity incentives and the catch-all other compensation.
The majority of Cook’s paycheck came in the form of non-equity incentives: $6.7 million, up from last year’s $2.8 million. His salary this year was just under $1.75 million; Cook pulled in an additional $750,000 in other compensation.
Net sales for Apple rose 7 percent — or $11.9 billion — versus 2013, thanks mostly to the introduction of iPhones 5s, 5c, 6 and 6 plus. MacBooks Air and Pro, as well as increased iTunes sales also chipped in.
CBS President and CEO Les Moonves’ 2014 take slipped 14.5 percent to $57.2 million in 2014. Last year he earned a whopping $66.9 million. Moonves’ bonus took a $3.5 million hit from 2013, and his stock awards fell by about $12 million when compared to that prior 12-month period. Off-setting some of that was a sizable growth in options and a decent bump in pension.
CBS network remains the most-watched broadcast channel on TV. Last year, the inclusion of “Thursday Night Football” certainly helped matters. That said, the higher costs associated with the investment lowered adjusted OIBDA and thus, operating income.
While 2014 revenues were $13.81 billion compared with $14.01 billion in the prior year, the decline can pretty much be explained: CBS had the Super Bowl in 2013, not the following year.
Ill and by all accounts far from able to run his company, Viacom founder Sumner Redstone, 91, still earned $13.2 million in 2014. That is down significantly from 2013’s take of $36.2 million, however. A small salary bump and better bonus couldn’t make up for the nearly $25 million devaluation of his pension and deferred compensation compared to the previous year.
Viacom profits reached a record $4.13 billion for fiscal 2014, thanks in large part to higher worldwide affiliate fees, which increased $415 million (10 percent) to nearly $4.7 billion, primarily driven by rate increases, as well as the benefit of distribution arrangements. Lowered operating expenses were a major contributor to that net increases as well.
Box office and home entertainment revenue both dropped by material numbers, however. Still, earnings per share for the year were at $5.40, also a record.
For his CBS post, Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone’s all-in compensation dropped 81.1 percent to $10.8 million. In 2013, he hauled in $57.2 million, ironically what Moonves made this year. While Redstone’s bonus dropped by $1 million, it was a massive pension gain from 2013 that came back down to Earth, making up a difference of more than $45 million dollars. Everything else was more or less the same year-over-year for the aging founder.
Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman is always well compensated — even when the company is in the midst of downsizing. Dauman hauled in $44.3 million in 2014, up more than $7 million from the prior year. The top executive can credit his extra cash this past year to over $2 million more in stock awards than 2013, $1.5 million extra in options and $3.1 million more in an incentive bonus, among other year-over-year increases. All told, Dauman was up 16 percent year-over-year, and those big bucks should continue rolling in for Dauman, as he re-upped his Viacom contract through 2018.
During a November fiscal year-end investors call, Dauman found the silver lining of the tough domestic TV ratings situation his company finds itself in: “Despite ratings challenges and uncertainty in the scatter advertising market at the close of the year, Viacom’s advertising revenues grew in fiscal 2014, as our creative and marketing teams rolled out innovative new offerings.”
A month later, Stephen Colbert left Viacom’s cable channel Comedy Central. Not long after that, Jon Stewart announced he would follow suit in 2015, handing Dauman a major challenge to start the new fiscal year.
A $22.8 million performance bonus and $17 million in stock awards sent Disney chief executive Bob Iger’s compensation soaring 35.6 percent over the previous year. It’s also up from 2012, when the Disney boss scored a cool $40.2 million.
Over the past 12 fiscal months, Iger’s salary remained unchanged at $2.5 million. But to that, add $8.9 million in stock awards and $8.3 million in option awards, which were also more or less stagnant. Iger also received a performance-based bonus of $22.810 million — that was the big change. In 2013, Iger’s non-equity incentive plan compensation was $13.6 million
The change in value to Iger’s pension was $2.8 million, which didn’t increase at all a year ago. All other compensation netted to $1.1 million –a slight uptick itself.
All that cash was thanks to Disney enjoying another record performance in fiscal 2014, posting $48.8 billion in revenue, up eight percent from the prior year. Net income was up 22 percent, diluted earnings jumped 26 percent. Media network revenue ticked up four percent, hitting $21.2 billion, with profits at $7.3 billion, thanks to shows like “Scandal.” ESPN was once again a boon to its parent company. The company’s film sector closed strongly with “Guardians of the Galaxy” opening in Q4; “Frozen” earlier in the year certainly didn’t hurt those gaudy figures.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer probably never tires of looking at his pay stubs. The executive cleared a whopping $63.6 million in fiscal 2014, up a remarkable 404.8 percent from the prior 12-month period.
Feltheimer’s annual pay is $1.47 million, while his bonus hit $8.75 million. He has $11.65 million in restricted stock units coming to him over the next four years, while his stock options could be worth $41.5 million — which is included in overall executive compensation numbers — should Lionsgate’s stock rise to $41.31 from its current price of $31.70.
Motion Pictures revenues decreased for Lionsgate from fiscal 2013, more than offsetting slight TV sales gains — readers can flip-flop those two directions over on the expense side. Revenues from the TV production division ($447.4 million) and international operations ($39.7.1 million) both hit records.
Lionsgate’s roller-coaster stock (LFG) rose strongly over the first half of its fiscal 2014 year — from $23.45 per share to $37.46 per share — before beginning a fall slide that continued until its fiscal year-end, where it eventually closed at $26.73.
The exec’s deal is good through 2018.
Sony’s executive salaries were leaked during 2014’s hack, revealing that CEO Michael Lynton and then Co-Chairman Amy Pascal earned $3 million last year. But everyone in Hollywood knows that figure was far from their actual compensation, though it might have constituted their base pay. Pascal exited Sony in February with the hack happening on her watch and the leak of her emails publicly embarrassing the company.
Since Sony Pictures is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation, relevant Hollywood all-in executive compensation is not specified in SEC filings; however, an individual with knowledge of Lynton’s compensation estimates it to be closer to $15 million. The executive recently signed a new contract and hired Tom Rothman to replace Pascal.
Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav brought home $156.1 million in 2014, more than 368 percent higher than the $33.3 million he was paid in 2013.
As part of his negotiation to remain the Discovery boss through 2019, Zaslav received more than $94 million in new stocks and options, which made up the bulk of the insane increase in his compensation over the previous year. His base salary remained steady at $3 million.
Zaslav’s compensation, being so closely tied to the finances of the company, is all part of Discovery’s long-term plan for stability and success, according to regulatory filings.
Meanwhile, DISCA closed at $32.15 on Thursday before the weekend holiday, down from $83.04 a year ago. The company reported in February fiscal Q4 earnings results that full-year revenues of $6,265 million increased $730 million, or 13 percent, compared to the previous year.
Comcast Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Brian L. Roberts took home a bit more in 2014 than he did in 2013, totaling a rounded $33 million last year — an uptick of five percent.
Over the comparable 12-month period a year earlier, Roberts had brought in $31.4 million dollars. The difference this time around came mostly from a positive change in pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation earnings.
Despite a lackluster stock performance from Q1 2014 and another dip in the fall, company share prices rose steadily throughout the measured year. On Dec. 31, 2013, CMCSA closed at $51.97. Fast-forward one year, the stock finished at $58.01 per share.
Comcast is still on track to merge with Time Warner Cable, much to the dismay of competitors.
Late last month, the company promised $4 billion to form a new investment and operating company, which will pull Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis away.
Meanwhile, NBCUniversal President and CEO Steve Burke slightly topped Roberts, his parent company’s boss, hauling in $33.9 million dollars over the course of 2014. His year-over-year increase was a bit more than Roberts’ too, rising 9 percent from 2013’s $31.1 million take.
Burke’s salary rose a few hundred thousand dollars and his stock and options grew, as did his non-equity incentive plan compensation. Burke’s pension decreased in value, but he pulled in an extra million dollars-plus under the catchall of “All Other Compensation.”
NBCU saw 18 percent growth in operating cash flow over 2014, thanks to the Sochi Olympics and the company’s theme park opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley in Orlando. Broadcast network NBC also still boasts the top show on network TV, “Sunday Night Football,” which helps from an ad-sales standpoint.
Meanwhile, revenue for the company’s Filmed Entertainment segment’s full 2014 fiscal year fell 8.2 percent — NBCU’s only posted sales decline by either measurement period. That said, it was still the most profitable result in Universal Pictures’ history.
Netflix CEO, President and Chairman Reed Hastings hauled in $11.1 million for 2014, up approximately 44.2 percent from 2013’s take of $7.7 million. Hastings pulled in about an extra million bucks on the salary front, but his option awards made the difference this year, rising roughly $2.3 million.
If that jump seems large, there’s plenty of money coming in, too. For fiscal 2014, the company reported a rounded $5.505 billion in revenue, diluted EPS of $4.32, and net income of a rounded $267 million. Over the course of fiscal 2013, Netflix had $4.375 billion in revenue, EPS on $1.85 and net income of $112 million.
Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos made $8.8 million, up a more modest 17.3 percent growth. In 2013, Sarandos earned $7.5 million. The increase was fairly evenly distributed between a salary bump and options uptick.
The streaming giant added a record 13 million new subscribers across 2014, finishing its fiscal fourth quarter with 57.4 million global customers. Netflix forecasts that by the end of 2015, it will have 61.4 million global members.
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DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg made $6.4 million in 2014, down 52.7 percent from last year. The prior year, the company’s top exec earned a rounded $13.5 million.
The vast majority of that financial freefall was his non-equity incentive plan compensation, which was $6 million in 2013 and zero in 2014. His stock awards dropped by more than a million bucks, while other compensation ticked up just around $20,000 or so.
DWA took a bit of a bath last year, losing $247 million in the fourth quarter alone. The company began layoffs in early 2015 and will also scale back its film slate for the year.
“Although 2014 was a challenging year for our company, I am confident that our recent announcement to restructure our feature film business will enable us to deliver great films and better box office results, while improving the overall financial performance of our business,” Katzenberg said at the time. “And while 2015 will be a transitional year for us, I couldn’t be more confident for the future. We have a set of strategic imperatives in place designed to ensure sustainable and profitable growth over the long term.”
TheWrap will continue to update this list as executive compensation figures are reported.
Linda Ge and Deborah Day also contributed to this report.