Variety salutes year’s dealmakers

Changing business models on the menu at breakfast

Hollywood’s top kingmakers and power brokers gathered at WeHo’s Soho House on Dec. 11 for Variety’s annual Dealmakers Breakfast, held in conjunction with the paper’s fifth “Dealmakers Impact Report,” which profiles the individuals behind the most significant showbiz deals of the past year.

After a half-hour of rapid networking, the execs, lawyers and financiers sat down for a breakfast of scrambled eggs and various quiches. “All the rules are changing,” said Variety editor-in-chief Tim Gray, as he welcomed the crowd. “If you’re in the paper today, congratulations.”

Variety TV editor Andrew Wallenstein then moderated a panel discussion focusing on how shifting technology is changing TV and online business models. Speakers included Machinima’s Allen DeBevoise, Lionsgate’s Brian Goldsmith, Liner Grode’s Joshua Grode, Maker Studios’ Courtney Holt, CBS’ Scott Koondel and Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Brian Stearns.

While attorneys in the room said their high-net-worth clients were worried about the looming fiscal cliff, and selling assets this month in order to avoid the possibility of higher taxation next year, anxiety about the overall economy is having little effect on showbiz deals, said panelist Stearns. “At the end of the day, it’s about the content,” he added. “If it’s good and attracts audiences, it’s worth financing.”

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