Twitter is the "it" company at the Allen & Co. Conference this year. Twitter CEO Evan Williams is making his debut at the big media and technology confab this year. And with several of the giants here sitting on billions of dollars in cash, everyone's speculating whether Twitter could be an acquisition target, and who would be interested in buying. Williams recently told me that he's not interested in selling the company at this early point in its life cycle. Still, that's not stopping the, well, twitter about the company.
John Malone weighed in on the big topic of the 140-character messaging service.
The chairman of Liberty Media acknowledged the simple technology's impressive draw, saying it's been "juiced by so many celebrities."
But then here comes Malone's big question: "I don't know if it's monetizable." He asked the handful of journalists that quickly congregated around him as soon as he started chatting.... "Are you ready to start paying for it?"
When one newspaper reporter said he wasn't sure about Twitter but he definitely would pay $4 for Facebook, Malone revealed that he thinks subscriptions are the solutions to all of new media problems.
Malone said Warren buffet told him in a private conversation that the Oracle of Omaha himself would pay five bucks a month for YouTube. "So between you and Warren Buffett we're starting to see some money." Malone said that if people are addicted to a service they'll start paying. Despite all the talk about Google -esque potential to advertise on Twitter search, Malone doesn't see it, saying it's hard to imagine an ad-based model for the short form blogging service but maybe someone will come up with one.
Malone also weighed in on the mergers and acquisition market and the big issues the media industry is facing; more on that later. Keep checking back here on my blog and you can follow my tweets from the event @JBoorstin.
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