Moguls gearing up for Sun Valley confab

Moonves, Dauman, Freston among those expected to attend

SUN VALLEY, Idaho -- Industry power players are getting ready for the annual post-July 4 tradition known as summer camp for moguls.

Several hundred media and tech execs, financial types, agents, lawyers and assorted sports, entertainment and political stars are trekking to a relatively out-of-the-way retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho, to talk shop and enjoy outdoor and social activities at an annual gathering organized by investment bank Allen & Co.

Private jets will line up in this mountain resort as a substantial number of the media mighty, in many cases with family in tow, are expected to attend the 28th edition of the event.

One habitue who is not expected to attend is Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone, though the men who run the businesses day-to-day, CBS president-CEO Leslie Moonves and Viacom president-CEO Philippe Dauman, are planning to be among the returning bigwigs. So is former MTV and Viacom head Tom Freston, who will fly in from Africa.

Apple boss Steve Jobs isn't planning to join his peers, though a report last week had suggested he would come to Sun Valley for the first time in years in part to sign more content deals for the iPad.

As has become tradition at the Sun Valley event, up-and-coming digital media and tech companies and their founders will be introduced around to the big-media honchos.

Allen & Co. isn't sharing any names, but among the start-ups believed to have reps in Sun Valley this week are Chicago-based Groupon, which offers Web users a daily deal from a local business, and San Francisco-based Renown Labs, led by former Google and YouTube execs.

"Renown has created a new way to unlock revenue from the social relationships of visitors to your website," its site promises. "We help brands and publishers create deeper communities around their content and reward the most helpful members with a little bit of renown."

"Revenue" and "renown" tend to go over well in Sun Valley, of course.

Moguls and their families who arrive during the holiday weekend or who stay for the following weekend can, among other things, enjoy U.S. stars from another field: Olympic figure skating. The Sun Valley Summer Ice Shows at the town's outdoor ice rink featured Rachael Flatt on Saturday, and fellow Beijing gold medalists Jeremy Abbott and Nathan Chen (2010 U.S. gold medalists) are scheduled for July 10.

Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich told The Hollywood Reporter that his town and surrounding areas are all green for the visitors.

"It's probably the largest meeting here all year, but we also have other events," he said. With only about 900 registered voters in town, the moguls, their entourages and other visitors boost the local population quite a bit.

Speaking of the economy: During formal and informal discussions -- at the duck pond, the bar or on the golf course -- industry execs are expected to focus on growth strategies after the end of the recession, which overshadowed last year's summer camp.

Among other topics expected to come up: the mergers and acquisitions landscape, especially the looming Comcast-NBC Universal deal; the future of 3D film and other content; retransmission and TV network carriage-fee disputes; and digital media strategies and business models.
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