That's one of the stand-out areas in the third-quarter numbers at IAC/InterActive Corp., which is Barry Diller's media amalgam that includes West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster, HSN, Ask.com and all kinds of Web-related enterprises. For the July-September period, IAC's ticketing sector, which includes Ticketmaster, reported opertating income of $50.5 million, up 18 percent from a year earlier. Revenue was up 17 percent. More concert tickets and higher revenues per ticket are behind the numbers. Despite the strong performance, the mundane business of selling concert tickets is not exactly what Diller is pushing his overall company to be. A NYT profile still has Diller trying to bring together his disparate enterprises - this time with former film executive Michael Jackson as programming president at IAC.
A glimpse at Mr. Jackson’s early efforts in online programming are now coming into view: he is thinking big by going small, investing in and starting targeted content sites built around humor, news and popular culture that remind him of the early efforts in cable television programming. In an interview, Mr. Diller said he expected Mr. Jackson to carry out perhaps dozens of such ventures during the next few years. “The amount of capital we’ll put in this over time will be hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “This is a wonderful area right now to invest in.” The company recently unveiled a test version of a new daily newsletter and Web site, Very Short List, which carries recommendations of unheralded cultural and entertainment products, including books, CDs and DVDs. And in August, IAC acquired control of the Web site www.collegehumor.com — whose name is fairly self-explanatory, though its appeal depends on which college you attended.