YouTube Takes Stage at Media Summit

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By MICHAEL LIEDTKE
The Associated Press
Thursday, July 13, 2006; 9:00 PM

SUN VALLEY, Idaho -- Just 17 months ago, Chad Hurley was squirreled away in a Silicon Valley garage running up credit card debt as he and business partner Steve Chen developed the quirky Internet video site that became YouTube Inc.

During the past two days, Hurley has emerged among the main attractions at an elite media summit in Idaho, where the 29-year-old entrepreneur is seizing upon the attention to further his quest to establish his San Mateo, Calif.-based startup as an entertainment and advertising hub.

"There is a big wave of video coming online and these (media) guys want to work with us to stay relevant in this changing marketplace," Hurley said during an interview with The Associated Press. "This trend in the Internet isn't changing, so we are working with them to find solutions on how they can embrace what we are doing and really leverage that to help their business."

Hurley isn't the only promising newcomer to be welcomed at an invitation-only conference that has brought together the world's richest media and technology leaders to network and mull possible new directions.

Blake Krikorian, chief executive of Sling Media Inc., also is on hand to extol the virtues of the San Mateo, Calif-based company's Slingbox, a device that relays programming from a living room TV to any Internet-connected computer.

Like YouTube's unorthodox Web site, Sling Media's product might have unnerved long-established media a few years ago.

But now there seems to be a realization that it makes more sense to try to live with upstarts like Hurley and Krikorian instead of pouring a lot of energy _ and money _ into trying to stifle them.

"There is certainly some level of disruption to what we are doing, but it has been really refreshing to see that some of these leaders are becoming pretty progressive in their thinking," said Krikorian, who started Sling Media two years ago.

Hurley's and Krikorian's presence at this conference while their companies are so young provides another sign of the rapidly changing times.

The leaders of Google Inc. weren't invited to the annual event hosted by investment banker Herb Allen until the online search engine leader was nearly five years old.

Now, Google co-founder Larry Page and CEO Eric Schmidt are among the gaggle of billionaires attending this year's powwow. Google co-founder Sergey Brin also had indicated he would be here, but word circulated Thursday that he had changed his plans.

Hurley proved he is quickly making powerful new friends Thursday when he hooked up with CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves for a 45-minute sit-down held in a small room outside the closed-door meetings where all the other conference participants had gathered.


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© 2006 The Associated Press

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