Creative industry in rapid growth as content goes online

Economic gloom may be breaking out like some C21 fiscal plague, but the explosion of undesired “leisure time” is an advantage for those in the creative communities, at least according to the recently-published Computer & Communication Industry Association (CCIA) study, “The Sky Is Rising”.

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Using data from the entertainment businesses in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the UK, the latest study commissioned by the CCIA and authored by Floor 64 illustrates that the sky is not falling for the entertainment industry — it’s rising. 

Good vibrations?

There’s a series of bold statements in the report, which claims growth in books, games, music and video sales.

  • More books are being published than ever before
  • The European gaming population has doubled since 2008
  • Live music markets are growing
  • 1,285 EU feature films were produced in 2011 (up 19 percent in the UK).

While we have to see how much the UK film market is impacted by the Coalition government’s short-sighted decision to slash arts funding, particularly by the BFI, it seems pretty clear that the appetite for creative product remains strong, though enquiring minds now enjoy more choices when it comes down to fulfilling their entertainment needs.

Despite these choices, the television market’s also on the rise, with TV revenues across all studied markets seeing solid growth, according to the report. However, as the boundary between conventional broadcast and streamed online television blurs, the report seems to confirm the Internet to be a good thing for creatives, at least for some.

Be the change

Report co-author Mike Masnick, reckons this, anyway: “This data clearly shows that the Internet and the creative industries do not stand in opposition to each other,” he writes.

“The digital age has undoubtedly created a new reality that is far more disruptive and therefore harder to adapt to. However, this disruption brings more opportunities and policymakers should make sure not to slow or choke off these processes. The key is to understand the challenges and successes of the content industry before considering policies that would cause a huge collateral damage for the digital economy as a whole.”

This may be news for the music industry, but the report seemingly shows releases the number of tracks produced by country has (generally speaking) climbed — though this could also reflect a new economic determinism which seems to insist on at least 12 tracks on every album in order to avoid per-track a la carte cherry-picking.

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Moving pictures

Most Dreamtek customers will instead likely want to consider the report’s claims as they impact the moving image and gaming industries. TV industry revenues seem to be on a gentle upward trend in most European geographies, though it’s tricky to tell if this simply reflects slight price increases in line with inflation, or if this really reveals an increase in the business.

The report takes a look at some of the emerging business models for movies, illustrating several alternatives to conventional channels in which big brands (such as BMW) sponsor creative projects.

Sucking on the corporate maw isn’t the only change taking place, they claim — there’s an increase in so-called “crowd-funded” projects, and an accelerating attempt by online video services to create new business models including pay per view movies and direct subsidy as seen in YouTube’s creative investments.

“The growth of online video distribution and the business models to support filmmakers points to a bright future for the video industry as a whole. The cost of video production is falling significantly as high quality video cameras becoming more commonly available (on smartphones or as standalone devices).”

The authors also note “record movie ticket sales during one of the worst global recessions in history,” as a form of confirmation of the health of the film industry, and points out that video watching as an activity is growing rapidly in all geographies as the Internet heads toward being a de-facto first stop shop for fans and as big budget mainstream movies continue to fan fan interest.

Games — and books

Gaming is also on the rise with iOS driving big bucks to games firms even while console sales continue to rise.

The book industry is also seeing growth, with UK e-Book market share (by revenue) climbing to 7 percent in 2011, the report claims. The number of books published in this market has climbed 47 percent since 1995, they add.

Apple’s iPad and the growth of the book market is interesting, but our creative customers will probably be interested in the report’s stated vision for this market:

“Ultimately, the end game will be about providing digital content and valuable services to readers in a way that enlarges the entire book market, and it’s not difficult to envision a future situation of ubiquitous ebooks that are easily purchased on mobile devices by a growing audience of consumers who voraciously read on the same handheld devices that they play video games on and use to communicate with their social networks. Getting to that destination, however, may not be without challenges.”

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Get creative!

The takeaway to this perhaps slightly optimistic report is that the creative industries are — in general, and subject to regional differences — in a relatively good place as creators begin to become ever more creative in the way they exploit new business models and technological innovation.

While these big shifts in content distribution are definitely painful in many ways, the impact of being able to access a huge global audience seems on trajectory to positively impact our creative industries in the long term, at least this is what the evidence implies. The difference is that most distributors of content other than music looked at that industries attempts to stem the tides of change with interest, and rather than resisting seem intent on a gradual and positive shift to embrace these new models, following the adage: “If you build it, they will come”.

However, we’re interested in finding out if this upbeat report reflects how business is going for our creative users, so if you have a story to tell on this, please share it here in comments below.

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