The creative industries contribute around £90 billion to the economy in the United Kingdom, or over 5% of the total. The sector has grown faster than any other in recent years and the total contribution could approach £130 billion by 2025. A review commissioned by the government and led by Sir Peter Bazalgette, the chair of the commercial broadcaster ITV, provides recommendations on how the creative industries can contribute to economic growth. Yet the implications of any change in the relationship with the rest of Europe remain unclear.
The creative sector employs more than two million people and is a net exporter of services, generating nearly £20 billion in exports in 2015, or 9% of the total for the United Kingdom, with a £11 billion surplus.
The United Kingdom is responsible for half the international trade in television formats. Annual sales of television programming are worth over £1.6 billion.
“In every scenario the Creative Industries are set to be of central importance to the UK’s future success,” said Sir Peter Bazalgette. “We have two great assets: the English language and our creativity, but the skills and business models of this sector are of increasing importance.”
There is potential for further export growth, together with the soft power benefits that come from the cultural and creative sector.
“I need hardly spell out how important this will be to the United Kingdom through the uncertainties of the next five years,” he writes in the report.
The United Kingdom faces intense competition from North America and Europe, as well as from developing economies such as Brazil and India.
“Given Brexit, it’s clear that both industry and government need to continue to challenge themselves to and new ways to work together on this agenda, particularly if we are to deliver on these ambitious export targets.”
The report recommends ways of maximising the potential of the creative sector, which he said he would like to see become part of a wider industrial strategy. “I urge government to ensure the final strategy is based on a fundamental understanding of what these industries need to thrive.”
The recommendations cover the creation of regional creative clusters, innovation, intellectual property, access to finance, skills and talent, and the opportunities for screen industries and international growth potential.
Sir Peter Bazalgette, the chair of ITV, was commissioned to deliver the review by culture secretary Karen Bradley and business secretary Greg Clark.
The culture secretary said: “The UK’s Creative Industries are an economic powerhouse and the government is committed to removing the barriers to its growth.”
“The UK has an extraordinary track record in developing and sustaining a television industry that is both commercially successful and sustained by public service values,” commented Richard Lindsay-Davies, the chief executive of the Digital TV Group. “Our television industry remains the creative and economic keystone of the UK’s creative industries.”
The Independent Review of the Creative Industries report is available from the United Kingdom government web site.
A series of Media Summits in London will provide a regular forum for executives to discuss topical industry issues that will affect their business, beginning with Brexit. Further information and registration for the Brexit Briefing launch event is available from the Media Summits web site.