Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday, 10 July 2008- allen & co, sun valley retreat

July 9

Though SAG spent big bucks to hammer AFTRA members to vote “no”, the result turned out to be 62% voting “yes”.
Alan Rosenberg, SAG’s answer to Che Guevara, was quick to point out that this was far from conclusive -- indeed that many had clearly responded to SAG’s “education and outreach campaign.”
SAG could still fight the three-year deal and seek a strike authorization vote (it would need 75% backing).
Rosenberg and company will meet with the studios again tomorrow.
The studios offered to sweeten the deal provided the guild ratifies it by August 15th.
How did we get to this mess?
As Cynthia Littleton reminds us in today’s Variety, the original scenario was quite different.
The Writers Guild was going to keep working under its old contract until SAG’s June 30 expiration date.
Summer was supposed to be solidarity time.
Then the writes decided to enter the fray sooner, hoping to disrupt the TV season.
The resulting strike walloped the community, though it’s arguable whether it gained much for the writers.
So suddenly SAG finds itself at the end of the bargaining line behind the writers, directors and below-the-line craftsmen.
It’s well know in the business that actors love to play heavies.
If you’re the heavy you can chew up the props, climb the walls, and lay on the shtick --
you don’t have to follow the rules of the clean-cut leading man.
Due to its strategic missteps, SAG has now cast itself as the heavy.
Allen & Co retreat at Sun Valley
The trouble is the town doesn’t need another heavy -- it needs a little statesmanship.
While no major news has yet come out of the Allen & Co. retreat in Sun Valley, which traditionally has the media elite trading in their business suits for their bathing suits,

photographers have been hard at work snapping the executives in mogul casual.
Below, photos of major media players making their arrivals to the Sun Valley conference, which began officially Wednesday morning.
For years, the Allen & Company media conference in Sun Valley, Ida.

was a time for media moguls to kick back, talk with their fellow executives —

and maybe even strike a deal.

But with the stock markets tanking, the dollar sliding and turmoil the operative description of the day, a pall has set over the sunny landscape.

DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning that media chieftains seem upbeat — in public.
Catch them at the bar in the evening, however, and you’re likely to get a different story.
All photos (and captions) courtesy AP.
Michael Eisner, of Tornante Company and former head of Walt Disney Company, breaks for lunch

Phllippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom, breaks for lunch with his wife Debbie Edgar Bronfman, chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group, breaks for lunch

Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC, and his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg

Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of New Corporation and his wife, Wendi Deng
Robert Iger, president and CEO of Walt Disney Company, and his wife Willow Bay

Lachlan Murdoch, director of Illyria Pty Limited and son of Rupert Murdoch

David Zaslav, president and CEO of the Discovery Channe

Tom Freston, of Firefly3 LLC (formerly CEO of Viacom)

Ronald Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios

Michael Ovitz, former head of Walt Disney Company

Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation
Investor Vivi Nevo and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi

Sun Valley Diary:

Sun Valley: The Old-Media Death-Watch Continues

July 9, 2008, 5:09 pm

Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen, who now runs the social networking site Ning, kept up his death watch for old media Wednesday morning.

In a morning panel session titled “Looking Around the Corner to the Future” – which,

like all meetings here are closed to the press –

Mr. Andreessen told the audience, which included many executives from the so-called “old media” world, that non-digital businesses are toast.

“He said, ‘If you have old media, you should sell,’”

according to one attendee, who spoke anonymously because the sessions are off-the-record.

“If you own newspapers, sell.

If you own TV stations, sell.
If you own a movie studio, sell.”

That didn’t seem to prompt moguls like Rupert Murdoch to run out and start an auction for News Corporation’s assets.

When asked if he planned to make any deals, he said, “Not this week.”

On the same panel, which was moderated by The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, was Barry Diller, chief executive officer ofIAC/InterActiveCorp; and Larry Page, co-founder of Google.

Mr. Auletta, according to another participant, tried to nudge Mr. Page and Philippe Dauman, the chief executive of Viacom, in to an exchange about Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against Google’s YouTube for copyright violations.

They apparently didn’t take the bait, although Mr. Dauman derisively noted that other content providers –

meaning those not named YouTube – sought Viacom’s permission before distributing Viacom shows.

The New-Media In Crowd

July 9, 2008, 8:06 am

The annual Sun Valley conference has always been a place for established moguls —

media barons such as Rupert Murdoch or John Malone are regulars on the guest list.

Often, however, Allen & Company, the investment banking boutique that runs the event, will invite a mogul-in-the-making or two, so the old guard can gawk at them (or buy their companies, or both).

Chad Hurley of YouTube was such an example — and, indeed, the initial sparks of Google’s romance with his video-sharing service began in this Idaho resort town a couple of years back.

This year, the invitation list is loaded with moguls-in-the-making, a next-generation A list of who may run big media one day.

The names reflect the interests of Allen & Company’s founder, Herb Jr., and his son, Herb III.

While Herb Jr. generally hangs out with the old lions, Herb III has been building up an impressive client list of new-media players.

With so many up-and-comers rubbing elbows with moguls — and their big checkbooks — deals could be aplenty.

So, who from new media got a much-coveted invitation to Sun Valley this year?

Here are a few names:

Jay Adelson, chairman and chief executive of Digg;

Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini, co-founders of Ning;

Michael Birch of Bebo (recently acquired by AOL);

Jeffrey H. Boyd of;

David Friedberg of WeatherBill;

Janus Frilis, co-founder of Joost;

Jeffrey Jordan of OpenTable;

Blake Krikorian, chairman of Sling Media;

Max Levchin, chief executive of, David Liu, chief executive of The Knot;

Gary Marino, chief executive of Bill Me Later;

and Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital (also a director at Facebook and co-founder of eBay-owned PayPal).

Sun Valley Diary: A Peek at the Agenda

July 9, 2008, 7:48 am

For devotees of Allen & Company’s annual confab who like to keep up with the official doings here in Sun Valley, we’ve procured an official schedule —

against the wishes of the event’s organizers — for your information andperhaps even your amusement.

The action starts early Wednesday with breakfast at 6:30 a.m. —

much earlier than breakfast at Michael’s in New York.

At 7:30 a.m. is a presentation by Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of
He’s likely to trot out his Kindle e-book device and talk about the future of publishing and electronic commerce.

After than, Ken Auletta of The New Yorker leads a conversation called

“Looking Around the Corner to the Future” with Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Ning, the hot new social networking site;

Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp; and Larry Page, a co-Founder of Google.

That’s all for the panels today.

Then the fun, and closed-door meetings, begin.

If you’re not hatching a project or calling your office, the whitewater rafting trip leaves at 10:30 a.m.

Golf is at 11 a.m.;

there’s biking, fly-fishing, hiking trail rides, yoga and bridge (paging Bill Gates and Warren Buffett!) in the afternoon.

On Thursday, Joel I. Klein, New York City’s schools chancellor, tries to open everyone’s mind with a conversation entitled “The Education Crisis” with Andre Cowling, principal of the John Harvard Elementary School of Excellence;

Deborah Kenny, founder and chief executive of the Village Academies;

and Michelle Rhee, the schools chancellor in Washington, D.C. After that, Donald R. Keough of Allen & Company,

the former No. 2 at Coca-Cola, leads a conversation called “Global Perspectives” with Muhtar Kent, chief executive of Coca-Cola;

Niall FitzGerald, deputy chairman of Thomson Reuters; and Sir Howard Stringer, chairman of Sony.

The last act for the day is Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of Dreamworks Animation.

The afternoon is filled with a tennis tournament, a trap-shooting tournament and yes, even knitting.

Friday begins with a panel of conference newbies:

Gary Marino, chief executive of Bill Me Later; Max Levchin, chief executive of;

and David Friedberg, chief executive of WeatherBill.

(Expect lots of people to wake up early to check out their next potential acquisition targets.)

Then things get serious with a panel Charlie Rose is moderating called “Where We Are – Where We Should Be” with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sam Nunn, a former senator from Georgia and co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

After that comes the surprise guest.

It says “TBA” on the schedule, but we’ll announce it here:

The mystery speaker is His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Then an afternoon of more activities — and for some of the crowd, a ride back to airport to catch a private jet home.

For those who stick it out until Saturday, Allen & Company, the event’s organizers, have left what may be the best for last.

Bill Gates is on the hot-seat with Tom Friedman of The New York Times in a conversation entitled “Creative Capitalism.”

And that’s just a warm-up act for Warren Buffett, who is being interviewed by Donald Graham of The Washington Post.

(Mr. Buffett is a big shareholder and board member of the Washington Post Company.)

A blowout dinner ends the week before everyone packs up.

JESSICA SIMPSON has the best boobs in Hollywood - fact.
The Dukes of Hazzard beauty came out on top in a poll by In Touch magazine, beating the likes of JENNIFER ANISTON and LINDSAY LOHAN in the process.

Unfortunately, Jessica has, as yet, not commentated on her victory but on her behalf, her dad and manager JOE has offered a few words of praise.

Joe said: "She's got double-Ds!

You can't cover those suckers up."

Proud dad, indeed...

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