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At Allen & Co. conference, there are lots of questions, few answers

July 8, 2009 | 11:03 am

There are no answers.

That seemed to be the theme of this morning's sessions that focused on the economy and digital media at the Allen & Co.

New Yorker writer Ken Auletta moderated a panel featuring Walt Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, Malone Liberty Media Chairman John Malone and IAC Chief Executive Barry Diller. All had much love for Twitter, but there were doubts about how to monetize the social networking site in which users post 140-character updates (follow my tweets for all the latest tidbits going on here, see link below).

Diller in particular was pessimistic on how Twitter could make money, Auletta said afterward. Twitter co-founder and Chief Executive Evan Williams was in the audience but stayed quiet. Diller

The three panelists were also asked by Cablevision Chief Executive James Dolan about offering consumers channels in bundles or a la carte. Both programmers and cable operators have traditionally been against letting consumers pick and choose the channels they want to watch, but with more and more content available online, that hard-line approach may have to change. Not having a la carte is defying the digital world, said Diller, according to Auletta.

The early morning panel about the economy, which was moderated by CNBC's Erin Burnett, was particularly grim, attendees said.  Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross was most bearish, per Auletta.

More power players showed up today including News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, but he wasn't very talkative this morning.  Allen & Co. is also tightening the already tight media restrictions. Potted plants have been put up everywhere to obstruct views. Reporters who need to go the bathroom get an escort.

There is a fair amount of male bonding going on. Murdoch, media mogul Haim Saban and Iger were chatting this morning while Murdoch's wife, Wendi Murdoch, and author Kathy Freston hung out together.

-- Joe Flint

Follow Joe on Twitter

Top photo: Liberty Media's John Malone. Credit:  Peter Foley / EPA.

Bottom photo: Barry Diller and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. Credit: Peter Foley / EPA

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