A Highly Successful ImMediaTe Cross-Media Summit April 8, 2011
Everything we do from now on will be transmedia. - Michel Reilhac, Arte TV Director
A beautiful Roman spring day welcomed well over 170 participants to the Cross-Media Summit organized by Filas and the ImMediaTe Consortium. The Casa del Cinema provided the perfect setting for the entrepreneurs, investors, media experts and representatives of the Lazio Region and the European Commission meeting to analyse the state of the art of digital media and financing for the creative industries.
Following a brief welcome on behalf of Filas and the Lazio Region by Filas General Manager Stefano Turi; Alex Talacchi, ImMediaTe Project Officer, delineated the European strategy behind the development of the European Creative Industry Alliance and one of its main pillars, Project ImMediaTe. Michael Denny, Senior Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment World Wide Studios – Europe delivered a keynote speech that drew the audience right into the world of cross-media and augmented reality. The Creativity 2 Networked Media panel moderated by Andrew Bullen, Co-founder of the Creative Cooperative (UK), addressed the increasing convergence of networked, cross-platform digital media and applications and how this has affected the creative industries. And here the dam waters stormed in. Michel Reilhac, Director of Arte France, denounced television and cinema as old media. “Everything we do from now on will be transmedia,” he declared, adding that he is already working on fictions fully based on Twitter and Facebook. It’s the Brave New World of digital media and creative industries where everything is meshed, linked and open. A moment described as “a brief shock followed by an immense relief,” by Gaetano Ruvolo, present in a
dual role as General Manager Sony Computer Entertainment Italy and President of AESVI (the Italian Association of Software and Videogame Editors) referring to Sony’s decision to accept open platforms into its proprietary universe.
Gino Bellavia, a business development manager at the University of Birmingham, and Paco Lanciano, Mizar Ltd., introduced the role of cross-media to provide enhanced experiences in the cultural heritage sector, a sector that the Lazio Region has strongly promoted by creating the Lazio Cultural Heritage Technology District that is managed by Filas.
By the end of the panel, the subject inevitably veered towards finance and government support for the creative industries. Dino Patti, co-founder of Playdead Videogames, pointed out that he would really love to see the emergence of a game-tailored finance, a snapshot of what Kamil Othman, VP for Creative Industry Policy & Strategy at the Multimedia Development Corporation of Malaysia, enlarged upon as the need to streamline and update national and regional policies to promote the creative industries.
This provided a practically seamless transition to the Finance 4 Creativity Panel, moderated by Jenny Tooth, Managing Director of Angel Capital Innovations and the British Business Angels Network. Patrick Van Houdt, a Senior Economist at the European Investment Bank outlined the general framework for innovation and investments, a subject that was addressed from a more specific angle by Jaspar Roos (ABN Ambro) and Marco Villa, the founder and Managing Director of Italian Angels for Growth. In particular, Mr. Roos pointed an important issue for investors looking at the cross-media sector: the lack of consolidated data and statistics in this sector.
Jason della Rocca, President of Perimeter Partners, who addressed the growing importance of gamification – a concept that applies the basic tenets of gaming to the greater universe of human activities - pointed out that innovation investment cannot only look at hardware breakthroughs and argued that videogames should be financed with the same approach as movies, which also have no tangible “defensible technology.” Mr. Villa concurred and pointed out the origins of business angels as “theatre angels,” investors with a long tradition of supporting the creative industries.
Ms. Michela Michilli, ImMediaTe Project Director and Filas International and EU Projects and Initiatives Manager, underlined how “Project ImMediaTe and the Cross-Media Summit represent a thorough synthesis not only of our experience with media and technology, but also with helping companies to access finance through innovative public/private financing solutions.”
The afternoon showcase session truly disclosed the extent to which the reality of trans- or cross-media has taken root in the creative industries. Fifteen companies, including on Taiwanese firm, showcased their business ideas: augmented reality to boost cultural heritage, movies that are not only videogames, but which allow real-time interaction via social networks and mobile applications, advertising seamlessly integrated into gaming and on-demand virtual worlds forged onto mundane reality.
An international jury composed of leading media experts presented certificates of recognition to six companies for the best business idea and best pitch in each session. The awards for best pitches were presented to Filmutea, XiLabs and Soundart 23, while Muzar, Digital Fun and Dot Mind in Motion received the awards for the best business idea. Companies were also able to meet and network throughout the course of the day with their counterparts from Europe, Malaysia, Taiwan and Canada.