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The Future for Media Moguls: Twitter?

sunset valleyWhat do you get when you put Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, IAC Chairman Barry Diller, and Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger on a panel together? The three were on a panel at the annual navel-gazing Sun Valley press-free media and technology conference talking about the digital future. As you can imagine, they weren’t exactly bullish.

Malone said he didn’t think that an advertising model made sense on Twitter, but there was some hope for a subscription model. “Sooner or later people will be willing to pay for these services,” he said. Warren Buffett privately told him that he would pay $5 a month for YouTube, he added.

Murdoch, on the other hand, was pretty firm in his beliefs on the latest social media hit: “Be careful of investing here,” he said of Twitter.

Twitter CEO Evan Williams was in the audience, but declined to comment during or after the session. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the conference has a tendency to dub an Internet star child each year—such as YouTube’s Chad Hurley, just months before Google acquired the site for $1.65B.

So is this a prelude to an acquisition for Twitter? Signs point to no:

Asked if he was considering buying Twitter, Murdoch said, “No.” Asked about selling MySpace, he said, “Hell no.”

After the meeting, the moderator of that session, New Yorker writer Ken Auletta, said overall the conference was “interesting but gloomy.” Kinda sums up the atmosphere everywhere, eh?

What do you think? Is Murdoch protesting too much, or is he not interested in buying Twitter? Will someone else make an offer—and what will Twitter say?

Photo (it’s a sun setting in a valley—get it, Sun Valley? Setting sun? Old media moguls?) by gorbould