Media Conference In NYC Opens Today
December 8, 2008 at 5:13 AM (PT)
TODAY (12/8) marks the opening of the 36th edition of the annual three-day extravaganza known as the UBS GLOBAL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE. REUTERS reports it's where the titans of the industry meet analysts, investors and reporters to review the current year and a look ahead to the new one.
Traditionally, CEOs and CFOs at this and other conferences paint the best picture possible, emphasizing strengths and sidestepping messy questions. But now the recession is official, the auto industry is in turmoil, and the ad market uncertain. Many see little chance of it all getting better anytime soon. The media moguls are facing their biggest PR challenge in years.
Just what are they going to say?
"Nobody's got a good story to tell," said CNBC's DAVID FABER, who will be there to cover the conference. "It's just who's less bad."
MARK FRATRIK, a media economist and vp at BIA FINANCIAL NETWORK, also expects such a mixed approach. "They're going to acknowledge the tough times that they find themselves in, but in any event, they're going to be cautiously optimistic going forward because they have strategies in place that they think will succeed," he said.
That means that there will be, amid the gloom, a lot of accentuating the positive. For some, it won't be an act.
Beyond that, VOGEL AND GAMCO INVESTORS portfolio manager LARRY HAVERTY thinks that one of the UBS gathering's themes might be looking to a potential recovery sometime later in 2009. "Hopefully this is the bottom right now," HAVERTY said, adding that in 1974 the market bottomed in early DECEMBER, too. "Media and entertainment stocks are very, very cheap."