Despite tumultuous stock prices, CEOs from media and entertainment companies are seeing their pay on a consistent rise.
Six media company executives are among the top 10 highest-paid CEOs in the US, according to a list released by the Associated Press Tuesday. AP created the list using its own information and data from Equilar, a company that tracks executive compensation data.
Discovery Communications' CEO David Zaslav topped the list, making $156.1 million in 2014. Zaslav, who has led the pay-TV programmer since 2007, recently renewed his contract – and his earnings jumped 368 percent in a year. The parent company of the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC has seen its stock fall nearly 20 percent since last year to $32.74 as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Leslie Moonves of CBS Corporation came in second, earning a third of Zaslav's compensation at $54.4 million. Viacom's Philippe Dauman, Walt Disney's Robert Iger, Comcast's Brian Roberts, and Time Warner's Jeffrey Bewkes also made the list.
The top 10 highest-paid executives made a total of 524.8 million in 2014. The six media moguls took home 364.2 million. Yet, the stock performances of these companies has been mixed. Iger earned $43.7 million in 2013, up 27 percent from last year, and Disney's stocks have risen 30 percent year-to-year. Roberts earned $33 million, though Comcast's stocks have remain stagnant in the last year, hovering between $24 and $25.
For employees who are not in a starring role or the C-suite, salaries cover a much wider range, especially for people working at the local level. A 2014 survey conducted by the Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University found that salaries for 18 different positions within local television news rose just 1.6 percent last year, barely outpacing a 1.5 percent rise in inflation. The average news reporter made $39,800, while news anchors were compensated for $82,200 on average. For larger companies, salaries tend to run on the higher end.
As their salaries increase, executives at Discovery, CBS, and the rest will have to continue to watch how streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu affect their numbers. Traditional cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner have seen their subscribers go down about 3 percent per quarter from the first quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2014, according to telecommunications research firm MoffettNathanson via Bankrate.com. That does not mean traditional television corporations are out just yet – CBS and HBO announced their own streaming services back in October, while DirecTV started offering non-subscribers its NFL Sunday Ticket service via the Internet, according to Bankrate.com.