Big-time media types feel the mojo returning
- Last Updated: 3:58 AM, July 9, 2012
- Posted: 10:37 PM, July 8, 2012
SUN VALLEY CHRONICLES
Some traditional media executives attending this year’s Allen & Company mogulfest expect a significant change in the weather.
After feeling like supporting actors last year alongside the much more sought-after Silicon Valley superstars, bosses at media mainstays like CBS, Disney, Discovery Networks and Time Warner feel they will have equal billing this year.
“We sat around the duck pond last year, looking at these guys and we were feeling all lonely,” one mogul at a traditional media outlet told The Post as he was getting ready to travel to the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho’s grassy Pioneer Mountains.
“It was like they had all the answers, they were going to impact the culture.”
But as the 30th annual Allen & Co. confab is set to start tomorrow, the tech titans have gotten their comeuppance.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, the subject of nearly every mogul chat last year as the buzz built for its initial public offering, has seen its shares stumble 17 percent since its May 18 debut.
Zuckerberg is not alone. Humbled, too, are Reed Hastings’ Netflix, down 72 percent in the last year, Mark Pincus’ Zynga, down 44 percent, and Andrew Mason’s Groupon, off 68 percent over the same period.
Each is expected to attend.
Meanwhile, CBS shares are up 14 percent over the last 12 months, Discovery Communications shares are up 26 percent, Disney is up 20 percent, Time Warner is up 5.3 percent and News Corp. is up 32 percent. The Post is owned by News Corp.
Each of the moguls behind the traditional media outlets will attend, too. They will likely be easy to spot — they’ll be the ones with the extra spring in their step.
And why not? Suddenly, the tech guys need the old media guys again. Facebook is searching for video clips from cable to goose its online video advertising and turn likes into currency.
Mobile is front and center and Google, Facebook and now Microsoft, The Post has learned, will be chatting to Universal Music-Sony backed Vevo in the chase for an equity stake in the music service to help power their phone ambitions. Vevo is working with Allen & Company to help figure out a future.
“Last year it was ‘holy s--t,’ these guys are geniuses,” an attendee told me this weekend. “This year we are feeling a little less wobbly. They have been humbled.”
Allen & Co., the 90-year-old New York investment firm that serves up plenty of chatter in the bars of the resort — hopes to broker many a deal in the coming months.
Possible deals in the air:
* French media giant Vivendi, which owns Universal Music, is looking to sell its stake in gaming company Activision. Some are looking to see if Activision boss Bobby Kotick will line up his own management buyout.
* Time Warner is reportedly also interested in Vivendi’s 60 percent stake in Activision.
* Some feel the ever hopeful Les Moonves would love to make a play for Sony’s successful TV production division if it ever goes on the block. Sony, under new management with new global CEO Kaz Hirai and his US boss, Michael Lynton, is taking a fresh look at all its businesses.
* Apple boss Tim Cook has plenty to discuss with media chieftains if Apple is serious about overhauling the pay-TV industry with the same gusto with which it upended digital music.