Dan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.
Media executives are packing their bathing suits, suntan oil, Blackberrys and iPods — they’re all going to summer camp. Well, their version of it.
Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Media Conference invites about 200 media bigwigs and billionaire-type VIPs to his Sun Valley Lodge. It starts tomorrow with media luminaries like Viacom’s Sumner Redstone, News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, eBay’s Meg Whitman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts co-founder Henry Kravis, Sirius’ Mel Karmazin, Viacom’s Philippe Dauman, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Sony’s Howard Stringer, former top dog at Time Warner Richard Parsons, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Warner Music’s Edgar Bronfman Jr., Universal’s Ron Meyer, Disney’s Robert Iger, Paramount’s Brad Grey and Microsoft’s Bill Gates (who’s doing more philanthropic ventures these days).
New media will be repped by such youngsters as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Ning founder and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen, Sling Media’s Blake Krikorian and Google’s Sergei Brin and Eric Schmidt.
Should be a non-stop week-long corporate kegger with confabs and informal business discussions on topics as far-ranging as the Middle East war, the dribbling economy, the farewell of President Bush (should he be impeached?) and the status of the Microsoft/Yahoo buyout talks, among others (though Reuters reported last week that Microsoft President Steve Ballmer was a no-go).
The conference is more of a see-and-be-seen type of confab with unscheduled meets between all sorts of major executives. When Disney’s Michael Eisner was there in 1995, he met “informally ” with ABC’s then president Robert Iger. A month later, they merged.