Creative industries fuel global economy and provide 29.5 million jobs

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) recently published a new and unique study on the global cultural and creative industries. Titled ‘Cultural Times – the First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries’, the study was prepared by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) and offers for the first time an analysis of the economic and social contribution of the cultural and creative industries around the world.  

The cover of the new report.
The cover of the new report.

The new study is jointly presented by CISAC and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and published by EY. It was officially unveiled by CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre at a press conference at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, France recently. CISAC’s vice-presidents include Grammy-winning Beninois singer Angelique Kidjo and Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow.

The survey quantifies the global economic and social contribution of this important sector by analysing 11 Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) sectors: advertising, architecture, books, gaming, movies, music, newspapers/magazines, performing arts, radio, television and visual arts. It does so across Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

Among the study’s findings is that with revenues of US$2,250 billion, Cultural and Creative Industries account for 3% of world GDP and employ 29.5 million people (1% of the world’s active population). The top three employers are visual arts (6.73m), books (3.67m) and music (3.98m). CCI revenues exceed those of telecom services and employ more people than the car industry of Europe, Japan and the USA combined (29.5 million vs. 25 million).

The study concludes that, to unlock the full potential of CCI, creators must be fairly remunerated for the use of their creative works, so that they can continue contributing to culture and the economy. Particularly in the digital market, policy makers need to address the transfer of value currently taking place in favour of internet intermediaries and ensure that creators and the creative industries are paid fairly for the exploitation of their works.

Creative works are a key driver of the economy

In 2013, creative content contributed US$200billion to global digital sales, powering sales of digital devices and increasing demand for high-bandwidth telecom services. Sales of digital cultural goods generated US$65billion and US$21.7billion of advertising revenues for online media and free streaming websites respectively.

“Cultural and creative industries are major drivers of the economies of developed as well as developing countries, ” declared UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.  “Indeed, they are among the most rapidly growing sectors worldwide. It influences income generation, job creation, and export earnings. It can forge a better future for many countries around the globe.”

The study provides unique data, mapping out a colourful canvas of a multipolar creative world. It reflects the diversity that UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions stands for, and enhances UNESCO’s global effort for “more data and stronger indicators on the role of culture for the development of societies”.

“This unique and first global study of cultural and creative industries shows that creators around the world, in all artistic sectors, are a major contributor to the world economy, both in terms of revenues and jobs,” highlighted CISAC President and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Jean-Michel Jarre. “They need to be able to work in an environment that protects their moral and economic rights, so that they can sustain their creative activity.

“We hope this study will be an eye opener for policy makers worldwide: protecting creators means fostering the economy. Our creative industries help build sustainable economies, provide local jobs, generate revenues and taxes and enable millions of people, many of them young, to make a living from their talent,” added Jarre.

Focus on Africa

Looking specifically at Africa and Middle East, the study found that Africa and Middle East is responsible for US$58bn in revenues (3% of global CCI revenues) and 2.4 million jobs (8% of total CCI jobs). While these numbers may seem impressive on their own, they fall well short of the rest of the world, specifically Asia-Pacific (34 % of global CCI revenues. 40 % of jobs), Europe (32% of global CCI revenues and 25 % of jobs), North America (28 % of global CCI revenues and 15% of jobs) and even Latin America (6% of global CCI revenues and 16% of jobs).

Noting that African music has been central to the development of popular music in North and South America and even Europe, the study notes particularly strong opportunities in film production, TV and music. Today, African societies contain cultural riches that are bubbling up to embrace the opportunities offered by new technologies and commercial markets. Film production and viewing are now driving employment growth in the CCI, with striking successes such as the rise of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, which is now reckoned to directly employ 300 000 people. Yet the African market is poorly structured and cultural goods are largely provided through the so-called ‘informal economy’, for example unofficial music performances, which is a significant part of the local cultural scene and a reservoir of jobs, employing some 547 500 people and generating US$4.2bn in revenues.

More information can be found at a new dedicated website. To download the full report, click here.

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