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Sun Valley Conference: Billionaires gather to discuss streaming’s future

Sun Valley Conference: Billionaires gather to discuss streaming’s future

Sun Valley, Idaho is once again playing host to the annual Allen & Co. conference, an exclusive gathering, informally known as “summer camp for billionaires.” This year’s event brings together media and tech titans to hash out the future of streaming services and potentially strike major deals. The guest list boasts a who’s who of industry leaders, including legacy media executives like David Zaslav (Warner Bros. Discovery), Bob Iger (Disney), and Shari Redstone (National Amusements), alongside tech giants like Andy Jassy and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Tim Cook (Apple).

Focus on streaming

The recent Paramount Global and Skydance merger will be a hot topic, with discussions likely to delve deeper. The deal includes a 45-day “go-shop” clause, leaving the door open for competing offers. More importantly, this merger serves as a backdrop for broader conversations on how to make streaming profitable. With Netflix dominating the market, many media companies are looking towards consolidation and partnerships—bundling services or forming joint ventures—to stay afloat.

Sports rights up for grabs

The National Basketball Association’s media rights will also likely be a major talking point. This year’s conference comes after a year where streaming giants have made significant inroads into sports broadcasting. The NFL’s massive $100 billion, 11-year media rights deal highlights their belief in streaming’s future. Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” exclusivity and YouTube TV’s recent acquisition of “Sunday Ticket” further illustrate this trend. Even Netflix is getting into the game, announcing NFL broadcasts for Christmas Day.

Live sports, particularly the NBA and NFL, remain a crucial driver of viewership for both traditional pay-TV bundles and streaming services. This high viewership makes securing these rights a top priority for media companies, forcing them to adapt to the changing landscape or risk losing out on lucrative deals.

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