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WeCreate looks to unite creative industries

Yesterday, the Copyright Council of New Zealand launched a new initiative WeCreate, to bring together the various component parts of the creative industries and establish a lobby group for the industries’ interests.

There’s a certain amount of data already on various aspects of the industries, both from industry organisations and from government itself (eg the NZ Game Development Association’s annual survey or Statistics NZ’s Screen Industry Survey).

The WeCreate numbers, commissioned from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, attempt to combine those into some larger totals – although there’s no doubt the screen industries are by far the biggest contributor to the figures presently on offer.

It seems at first glance as though the numbers (citing a creative total of some $3.5 billion) might actually be undervaluing the sector.

There doesn’t appear to be any real representation of the visual or performing arts sectors, although both contribute to both the dollar and employment numbers and are certainly a part of the creative industries.

That isn’t a criticism, since WeCreate is very clear that it’s a work in progress rather than a fait accompli, and that it welcomes suggestions about its scope and activities.

One thing that does seem to be missing from the data on offer at present – and surely a key element for an organisation wishing to engage with government for the benefit of the sector – is data identifying the benefits of state support for the creative industries. The 2012 Oxford Economics report The Economic Impact of the UK Film Industry used such data to encourage government to increase the UK’s support for inbound productions.

One of the challenges of moving beyond one sector such as screen, to encompass recording and publishing and game development, is that there will be some conflicting interests. However, there are plenty of interests that align and the stronger the group the more effective it can be.

In a transmedia age, there’s no shortage of work that’s moving between sectors within the creative industries, whether it’s enormous projects such as The Hobbit (currently exploited through book, film, game, toy and merchandising properties) or much smaller entities such as Auckland game stusio’s Grinding Gear’s Path of Exile, which this week announced new exploitation via online and print comic publication.

The full media release follows, and the WeCreate website contains links to data from various creative industry sectors:

Media Release: 10 July 2014
Creative Industries add $3.5 billion to NZ’s GDP

A new report shows the books, music, television and film sectors of New Zealand’s creative industries annually contribute more than $3.5 billion to the local economy.

By comparison, these components of the creative industries are similar in size to the forestry sector, double the size of the printing sector, and half the size of sheep, beef cattle and grain farming.

The four creative sectors also support the full-time employment of up to 15,000 authors, publishers, musicians, actors and writers directly. The figure rises to more than 30,000 once other suppliers and associated businesses within the industries are counted.

The figures come from a report prepared by PwC for WeCreate.org.nz on the impacts of music, book publishing and film and television. The report summarises the findings of individual studies conducted by each sector and is based on the latest industry data available for each.

WeCreate.org.nz officially launches today (10 July) and is an alliance of 20 members of the creative industries in New Zealand formed to represent, champion and foster the sector.

Sectors represented include television, film, books, music, games, photography and visual arts. Foundation members include Recorded Music NZ, Copyright Licensing NZ, The NZ Screen Association, the Publishers Association of NZ (PANZ), the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and Artists Alliance.

Chair of WeCreate.org.nz Paula Browning says it’s the first time such a report has been prepared from within the industry.

“This is the first time we have been able to truly demonstrate the real value New Zealand’s creators deliver to our economy. Based on four areas alone, we can already see the creative sector is thriving.

“We are currently working with the games, art and photography industries to incorporate their data in future versions of the report, and we anticipate design and others will follow. The aim is to consolidate industry information into an annual report on the economic contribution of New Zealand’s creative sector and acknowledge the thousands of people employed within it,” Browning says.

The report says books, music, television and film industries have a direct impact on New Zealand GDP of $1.642 billion, rising to $3.597 billion in total when indirect impacts3 are considered. New Zealand’s total GDP across all industries is around US$182.6 billion (NZ$209 billion).

Likewise, books, music, television and film industries directly provide 14,918 full time equivalent jobs rising to 30,599 when indirect impacts are considered. New Zealand’s total employed workforce is 2.3 million5.

Figures from the PwC report reveal:

  • Book publishing provides a total 5,160 full time equivalent jobs (2,940 direct) and has a total impact on GDP of $382 million ($160 million direct)
  • .

  • The music industry provides a total 4,077 full time equivalent jobs (1,670 direct) and has a total impact on GDP of $452 million ($205 million direct)
  • .

  • Film and television provides a total 21,315 full time equivalent jobs (10,284 direct) and has a total impact on GDP of $2,781 million ($1,282 million direct). The sector delivers a total impact of $1,376 million in terms of labour income.

Browning says WeCreate.org.nz’s vision is to be the eco-system of the nation’s creative world.

“We are as passionate about our eco-system as environmentalists are about protecting our forests and coastlines. Our aim is to ensure our sons and daughters can have an opportunity to work in vibrant creative industries, while all New Zealanders – and the rest of the world – can look, listen, read, play, engage with and enjoy the country’s dynamic creative output.

“It is our job to ensure the authors, publishers, musicians, writers and all creative people get a return on their investment in their own talents,” she says.

Chairman of South Pacific Pictures John Barnett says PwC’s report highlights the significant contribution of the local creative sector to New Zealand’s economic well-being.

“WeCreate.org.nz gives a voice to the creative industry to ensure that government, media and New Zealanders at large are kept aware of the value of this sector in terms of local employment and its contribution to making New Zealand a better place.”

Head of Recorded Music NZ Damian Vaughan says WeCreate.org.nz delivers success by investing in the industry so creators have a local platform to represent them.

“We have come together to create a unified voice whose whole is much greater than its parts to ensure the industry remains robust and gets the support it needs to continue its very substantial contribution to the New Zealand economy.”

Kevin Chapman, the former President of PANZ and now director of Upstart Press says the development of the country’s creative talent helps build not only economic benefits but also national pride and identity.

“The future Janet Frames and Eleanor Cattons of New Zealand literature can only star on the world stage if we ensure they have the ways and means to benefit from their creativity. That is the mandate we are embracing through WeCreate.org.nz,” Chapman says.

Note: A copy of the PwC report “Employment and National GDP impacts of music, publishing and film and television in New Zealand” can be found at www.wecreate.org.nz. Separate full reports are also available on the same site.