By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire July 13, 2009 at 5:18AM
"The conference is about networking, family, learning and fun," blogged Ted Leonsis, just back from the annual Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, a private and exclusive annual event for about 200 moguls and top figures in the media, sports, Internet business, healthcare, finance, political industries.
indieWIRE invited Ted Leonsis, chairman of iW owner SnagFilms, to share a list of the top ten hot topics from last week's event. The event is private so his list is a broad overview of the main areas of focus at last week's event. Ted Leonsis' blog is located at TedsTake.com.
Top of mind. Top 10 conversation topics from Sun Valley:
1. Free vs paid.
How to get the genie back in the bottle and get consumers to respect IP and content and start to pay for selected services?
2. What will save the newspaper and magazine publishing business?
How to right size the model; how to re-craft the basic business economics? How to work better with advertisers to move dollars faster online into a new more accountable media -- around these re-purposed brands/services from physical world to online world.
Which micropayments platforms will emerge to help media companies. How will safety and security be handled?
4. Real time.
What is the basic business model for real time communications -- Twitter and Facebook are booming -- but, is there a way to make money in a 140 character form factor?
With the US and Europe in recession, are we prepared for a world where China, India, and other nations drive economic growth? What products and services do we sell them How to hire and train and retain more globally focused executives within our own enterprises?
6. Distribution vs content.
Where does the value lie? Will content companies go more and more direct via the Internet or will intermediaries still get the lionshare of revenues and value? Or will a hybrid model emerge?
7. Stimulus package.
Where is it helping to date? Are banks starting to lend again to consumers and small businesses? Is it helping in meaningful ways yet? Discuss.
8. Social media.
How does social media morph into a communications platform vs. an entertainment environment. Which business models will emerge? what is working to date?
How to get marketing costs back in line -- how to cut distribution costs and the costs to manufacture and produce the films. Big focus on games and digital media. Lots of concern over film financing and the viability of not at scale players. Bigger shakeout coming in future years because of lack of financing;
10. Overall economic outlook.
How long with this recession last? Which signs do we look for to show it is ending and a rebound is starting; How do we never let this happen again? Role of Government in our lives and businesses in future.
Media coverage of the annual conference focused on the serious talk throughout the week. FOX's Rupert Murdoch called the conversations, "very bearish," quoted in a Guardian report on the event (via FoxNews). While the LA Times also quoted Murdoch, as well as others, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who called the economic environment, "the new normal."
"Media moguls at this week's Sun Valley conference have spent as much time discussing how to reconfigure business models disrupted by the Web as they have worrying about the weak economy," lead a lengthly look at the event from Reuters. Bloomberg also weighed in with a report.