From left to right: Walter Haas (Innovation Salzburg), Hannes Schalle (Moonlake Entertainment), Federal Minister Martin Kocher, Irene Schulte (IV Salzburg), Governor Wilfried Haslauer

31. July 2023

“Algorithms, Brands & Emotions” at the Salzburg Media Summit

On July 28th, creatives, experts, and managers from the media and technology industry gathered for the traditional event organized by the Association of Film and Music Salzburg, Innovation Salzburg, and the Salzburg Chamber of Commerce at Schloss Leopoldskron.

The Welcome Notes at the Salzburg Media Summit this year were delivered by Salzburg’s Governor Wilfried Haslauer, Federal Minister for Labor and Economics Martin Kocher, Innovation Salzburg CEO Walter Haas, and IV Salzburg CEO Irene Schulte. “Austria’s leading media location, Salzburg, has very favorable conditions for prosperous development. We will further optimize and support all the advantages that the country offers,” said Governor Wilfried Haslauer. Minister of Economics Martin Kocher emphasized once again that “the funding budget FISA+ is open-ended, but all prerequisites for fund allocation must be met in the applications.” He is pleased that Austria is now better prepared in the EU concert of the media industry.

The Role of AI

Subsequently, a discussion took place under the moderation of Ralf Hillebrand (Salzburger Nachrichten), with Carina Zehetmaier (President of Woman in AI, Vienna), Nike Emich (Burda Media, Munich), Roland Kwitt (University of Salzburg), and Matthias Röder (Karajan Institute Salzburg), focusing on “Brave New World? – The Complexity of Social Media and AI-Driven Applications.” As a conclusion, it was noted that “AI has been influencing editorial and production routines for quite some time and roles will change permanently,” said Nike Emich from Burda Media. This will also affect the more than 350 member companies of the film and music industry in Salzburg. Properly utilized, AI can amplify and enrich human creative processes – as seen in the project “Beethoven X.” While Roland Kwitt explained the high computing power of AI systems, he also stressed, “there won’t be autonomous systems for quite some time.” Carina Zehetmaier, a lawyer engaged in the AI field, emphasized that “the legal aspect is still in a completely fluid state and will therefore cause many processes.” A practical example of how AI is already functioning, exclusively as a human-machine model, was shown by Matthias Röder through the AI composition project “X/AI” – the completion of Beethoven’s unfinished tenth symphony by an AI. “However, this was done with the assistance of three experts from leading universities.”

Six Months of FISA+

The industry-political interest arose when Sylvia Vana (BMAW) and Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu (WKÖ, Professional Association for Film and Music Industry) together with Hannes M. Schalle provided a first interim assessment after six months with the new funding model FISA+. They unanimously agreed: the model has already proven itself well and has generated international discussions in the industry. Austria’s film production industry has already significantly improved due to more orders and financing opportunities, and it will continue to benefit from it in the coming years as long as the country continues to develop accordingly. As Chairman of the Professional Association, Dumreicher-Ivanceanu emphasized “the high international interest, especially due to the reliability of the Austrian economic situation,” while Sylvia Vana highlighted “the high performance of all officials who processed the abundance of applications in the last six months.”

In the concluding expert panel “Redefine Content! – Streaming, Cinema and Free TV strategies,” Annette Hess (writer for ARD, ZDF, Amazon, Disney+), Bernd von Fehrn (Warner Bros. International Television), Goetz Hoefer (ServusTV), and Roland Teichmann (Austrian Film Institute) discussed their assessments of the future of moving image entertainment. The discussion was moderated by Harald Fidler (Der Standard). The current crisis of major streaming providers and the bursting of the “series bubble” “ends the gold rush mood in the industry,” explained the most successful author in the German-speaking world, Annette Hess. However, she acknowledged that “through the consolidation among the streamers and Free TV, a new, positive symbiosis will emerge.”

Exceeding Expectations for the Media Summit

Summit initiator Hannes M. Schalle (Chairman of the Professional Association for Film and Music Industry Salzburg) stated, “We chose the right theme. The response to the invitation far exceeded our expectations as organizers. Inviting participants to the Salzburg Summit has proven successful, and international guests also appreciate the exchange and the special atmosphere. In addition to being the top film and production location in Austria, Salzburg is now also firmly established as a venue for important industry discussions. The opening weekend of the Salzburg Festival thus also includes an element with a clear digital and global future perspective. We intend to continue this in 2024.”

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