Believe it or not, the average American's pain at the pump and at the grocery store is affecting some of the media world's most powerful leaders. How so? Ad money is not as free-flowing as it was in prior years. Advertisers are aware of consumer woes and, therefore, more hesitant to throw their money around (the bread and butter for media companies).
So while industry leaders may still be discussing the future, possible mergers and ideas, no one should expect much of anything anytime soon. Oh, sure, money is still there, investors are still alive and kicking, but they aren't willing to bet on much of anything at this point.
Powerful private equity king Henry Kravis said at the conference that he believes the worst is yet to come for the economy, which he believes will continue to suffer for the next two years.
Keeping that in mind, it shouldn't be surprising that most everyone was vying for the attention of Zhang Ziyi, the beautiful and famous Chinese actress quickly making her name known to American audiences. Or, rather, the attention of her Israeli boyfriend, powerful media investor Aviv, or Vivi, Nevo. Each CEO is hoping to convince Nevo that their company is ripe for more funding.
Of course, Hollywood media and entertainment come in all forms, not least of which is the world of sports. And while baseball and NBA commissioners Bud Selig and David Stern, who were also spotted in Sun Valley, are no doubt worried about how much longer cash-strapped consumers can afford to pay for tickets to their games, they are most likely also thinking about how those fans feel about steroids, A-Rod and Madonna.
An interesting take-away from the conference is the bit of irony it created. For there is probably no conference more closed off and passionately against media cameras and reporters than this one, even though its participants all make their millions running media empires.
But perhaps the biggest take-away is that despite their elite and privileged lifestyles, these corporate leaders are hurt by the economy. And it is largely up to them to turn the economy around and remind consumers that this too shall pass. That's a job and responsibility most people would not want -- despite the corporate jets and five-star trips to private resorts.