The former Disney CEO and founder of new media company Tornante, whose 40-year career has spanned pretty much every aspect of the entertainment business, told attendees that he continues to 'have faith in all media. If you have a great story to tell, it will work on any delivery system.'
Eisner is currently at the head of a company that deals mostly in the Internet - via such properties as video distribution site Veoh and production company Vuguru - but also on cable TV through such series as Glenn Martin, DDS.
And, for him, content is king. The continually shifting new media landscape, he said, is a good thing for content producers but 'not necessarily for the legacy companies that have distribution platforms in old media.'
Indeed, referring mid-20th century US, he surmised, 'If entertainment started pre-caveman, there is only a 40-year period of oligarchic control over the viewer. What has lasted is content. All these mobile (companies) are ignoring content and saying they are king - well, they make a good queen, but they're not king.'
Talking to the current economic crisis, Eisner put his money on media companies with a large concentration in content. 'I'm bullish. Disney is a steal - unless the world comes to an end,' he noted of his former studio.
'But, that doesn't mean there won't be new players who get bigger. They simply must have content and not only distribution.'
Further, he noted that 'it's always about the next hit; never count anyone out.' Financing, he said, 'will be tougher next year because there won't be a lot of stupid money and buyers will be cautious but they shouldn't be so cautious they miss out on something.'
Given his long history in the business, when Eisner was asked what kept him going, he said, 'You have three choices, golf, working or death. I choose the best of the three.'