The dividend of cooperation
Being in a deep economic crisis, which has already gripped us for three years, means that we must reflect on how to fight its effects, but first we have to take note of the following: there is no margin left to reduce costs further in order to compensate the 15% drop in cultural consumption; the price of cultural services has decreased by 1.3% and turnover has dropped by 7.2%; and, funding lines are becoming increasingly more elusive for companies, both private and public corporations. Three factors that can only be fought against if public and private sectors make cooperation one of the basic areas for building a new reference framework to combat the economic crisis.
One fact we can state is that the economic problem of cultural and creative companies is not a matter of solvency. Proof of this is; our projects growing internationalisation; the incorporation of new actors such as the videogame sector; the quality of our creators –who have an increasing weight inside and outside Catalonia–; Catalonia’s leadership in sectors such as publishing – Spain occupies the 8th position in the world and Catalonia represents 49.2% of the domestic market share–, audiovisual –where Catalonia has a 43% market share–, performing arts –with 24%–, or music –with 20%–. And within the audiovisual world, the Catalan animation industry leads within Spain, representing more than 80% of activity. There is also a number of public tools that enable sector support policies aimed at consolidating and modernising it; tools such as the Catalan Finance Institute, the Catalan Public Broadcasting Corporation, and the Catalan Institute for Cultural Industries attached to the Catalan Ministry of Culture. That is to say, stable funding and investment programmes that help our companies to meet both their short and long term commitments.
Another aspect to face is that of strengthening the value chain of cultural industries, in order to have greater options to reach the market place and attract new audiences. We have invested a lot and in an appropriate manner in creation and production; now it is time to see how we do the same with the distribution and exhibition, to give our creations access to the market.
A third key aspect is digitalisation, which is transforming the business model in cultural sectors. However, it has also caused crises in the sector –as it happened a few years ago in the music world–, as well as a renovation and a new push for some sectors such as the videogame industry. To sum up, digitalisation needs a strong public push regarding intellectual property protection policies, investment policies for the proper migration of an analogical environment to a digital environment, and measures for the visibility of cultural productions on mobile devices.
Funding, Market Access and Digitalisation are three of the most important elements facing the crisis. In order to successfully achieve these three, it is necessary to have a strong basis of understanding between the public and private sectors, in order to establish action lines based on co-responsibility. Nowadays cooperation among all parties would produce dividends for the sectors and administrations that are able to generate it. Dividends, being not only economic but also of a social and cultural nature.
Fèlix Riera Prado
Director of the Catalan Institute for Cultural Industries – Catalan Ministry of Culture