From Iger to Dauman to Murdoch, Media Mogul Salaries Swell in 2010

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The economy wasn’t the only thing that rebounded. Top executives like Philippe Dauman and Les Moonves saw their compensation packages soar – but not Jeffrey Katzenberg

Get ready to party like it’s 2007.

As media companies began to shake off the aftershock of the economic downturns, moguls saw their compensation packages begin to swell.

TheWrap’s annual survey of mogul pay stubs found that the same executives who made a big show of cutting their paychecks during tough times have huddled at the trough once more.

A Wrap investigation into public records found:

>> After taking a pay cut in 2009, Bob Iger saw his salary increase 30 percent in 2010 to pre-recession levels. In a year that saw Disney post a 15 percent earnings boost, Iger received $28 million in stock, bonuses and other compensation. (see chart 1)

See slideshow: Which Moguls Got Pay Raises in 2010?

>> Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman more than doubled his take home pay. As a signing bonus for extending his contract another six years, Dauman received a stock equity award of $54.27 million for a total compensation of $84.5 million! That monster payday will vest over the next five years if the company achieves set goals.

>>So did CBS chief Les Moonves, whose compensation sky-rocketed from $21.2 million in 2008 to $43.2 million in 2009, the latest available figures. 

>> Dauman’s boss Sumner Redstone earned substantially less than his top lieutenants, with a mere $15 million payday. However, in 2009 the octogenarian also received $16.2 million in compensation for chairing CBS.

>> Though News Corp. shares stagnated, Rupert Murdoch saw his salary rise by $500,000 to $22.7 million. However, Roger Ailes, who oversees Fox News, took a pay cut. The bête noire of the left dropped his salary from $22.1 million to $13.9 million.

Read also: Mogul Salaries Drop in 2009, But Not So You'd Notice

>> Following a roller-coaster stock ride, DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg broke with his fellow moguls and dropped his compensation from $23.4 million to $6.7 million in stock options. His base salary remains $1. DreamWorks stock is down year over year by 38 percent and currently sits at $25.68. (see chart 2)

A revitalized ad market gave CEOs some excuse for taking a greater helping of profits, but the theatrical movie market flatlined after record earnings in 2009. And home entertainment continues its downward free fall.

That contrasts with new media giants such as Apple founder Steve Jobs (annual salary: $1) and Google’s outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt (annual salary: $245,322), who deferred big salaries in favor of shares and reimbursements.

Most media companies surveyed saw their stock prices climb slightly. Year to date, Disney’s shares rose 23 percent to $41.23, CBS’ stock climbed 64 percent to $23.23 and Viacom’s price jumped 51 percent to $50.19.

Even more important, after a period of bloodletting that saw nearly every major media company slash thousands of jobs, layoffs by and large stopped.

But their Wall Street muscle paled in comparison to their new media brethren. While old media executives regularly draw salaries in the eight-figure range, the heads of such titans as Netflix and Amazon drew compensation packaged in the low seven-figures.

Numbers aren’t available for 2010, but in the previous year Netflix chief Reed Hastings and Amazon head Jeff Bezos earned $2.7 million and $1.8 million respectively, less than what Jon Feltheimer earns running a mini-major studio like Lionsgate.

Caught up in a bruising proxy fight with Carl Icahn, Lionsgate’s shares remain mired at less than $6. In contrast, Netflix’s stock more than doubled to top out at $209.40 and Amazon’s shares climbed 21 percent to $161.82.

They may not earn the same paychecks, but Apple, Amazon and Netflix are driving the future of entertainment, banking the future of their business on new technologies such as tablets, ereaders and streaming video. Many of these emerging modes of distribution are the same ones that are threatening the movie and media industry and the cushy salaries of Murdoch, Redstone and their ilk.

Read also: Media Mogul Salaries in 2008

The only Silicon Valley head paid like she is part of the old vanguard is Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. During 2009, her first year with the company, Bartz pulled in $47.2 million in bonuses and other compensation.

Yahoo’s reward for those big bucks — a stock price that currently molders around $16.03 a share.

Now, those are results that old media could be proud of.  

Anthony M. Colucci contributed to this report