Oh dear. We are about to be told – again – how important the
internet is to the media, that big media is dead and moreover, that
everything old is new again.

Yes,
the annual Sun Valley, Idaho media talkfest is on and this year it’s been
invaded by the likes of Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and various other companies that
want to be seen as cool, media savvy and with an internet
strategy.

Of course those old stagers, Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone (Viacom, CBS, MTV etc), will be there, as per usual.

It will be a case of what the last speaker
said becoming gospel until the next speaker finishes. It’s a meeting for businessmen (not many women mentioned)
with a short attention span who only manage to read the executive reports
commissioned at great expense from consultants like McKinsey’s.

Started by banker Herbert
Allen (he was a long-time director and deal doer for Rupert Murdoch) as a
week of mutual back scratching for Hollywood’s elite, this year will be the
24th gathering of some of American business’s big swingers.

So instead of the latest on Hollywood, on
movie deals, technology (and the relationship with Silicon Valley) and the
relationship with Wall Street, with each other and other media barons, the
attendees will hear lectures, sorry, presentations on topics ranging from healthcare to dependence
on oil, and defence.

Senator Helen Coonan’s nasty little media
law changes Down Under won’t
even register.

The gathering will bring together the likes
of Coca-Cola CEO Neville Isdell and Nike Chairman
Philip Knight with conference veterans Richard Parsons of Time Warner (and
hasn’t that been a stellar performer). Of greater interest will be the presence
of Yahoo’s Terry Semel and Jerry Yang, and Google
founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin: both companies
will be the gorillas in the room that no-one will try to
notice.

We will hear a lot about convergence
(again), downloading, the growing importance of YouTube.com which is perhaps
the fastest growing threat to many media companies in TV and film (and a source
of new ideas).

And no doubt there will be another lecture from
Rupe on the net: nothing like a second coming to make
him a believer again.

Peter Fray

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