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Inside Move: Media mix with moguls at retreat

Mavens schmooze, golf, run from the press at Sun Valley

The media supposedly has been rethinking the past practice of turning corporate suits into media stars.

Nonetheless, there was a bigger press turnout than usual last week at Herb Allen‘s annual summer retreat in Sun Valley.

Though the meeting attracts top players in the media and entertainment business, it’s been notorious for its utter inhospitality to the press.

There are no press briefings — indeed, most of the media mavens flee at the sight of a reporter.

Yet even The New York Times dispatched two journalists to the conference last week to hover around, hoping to capture a random epiphany.

The news, as usual, was lean.

Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone reiterated his oft-quoted statement that the advertising environment was improving. He added yet again that he covets Vivendi’s cable units, mindful of the fact that the French don’t want to split off the Sci Fi channel or Trio.

John Malone offered up the shocking revelation that he is, in fact, still pursuing Vivendi U’s entertainment assets.

But those tidbits, by Allen retreat standards, represented a major news break.

So what did the media mavens do in Sun Valley?

As usual they schmoozed, river-rafted, played golf and ran from the press.

It seems they also are fretful about seeming like media stars.

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