Creative Industries IN BC at Competitive Crossroad
Film, television, digital media, music, magazine and book publishing sectors
urge government and industry to work together on a strategy to
prevent jobs - and talent – from leaving BC
Vancouver, BC (April 26, 2012): If British Columbia’s creative industries are going to reach their full job-creating potential in the competitive years ahead, they need the creative equivalent and focus of the “Own the Podium” approach that earned Canada a record number of medals at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A report commissioned by a coalition of the province’s creative industries says a strategic approach to the future is needed - one that includes moving this $4 billion sector from the margins to the mainstream of economic and policy thinking, something that’s key to retaining British Columbia’s creative professionals, as well as their entrepreneurship and job-creating potential. Without it, the province risks losing its best talent to places such as Ontario and Quebec with their competitive tax credits, program funding and easier access to investment capital.
The 35-page report, titled From the Margins to the Mainstream: Moving BC’s Creative Industries Forward, points to Ontario, Quebec, Britain, Australia and Singapore as some of the jurisdictions that are working with their creative industries to develop the sector’s competitive potential. The report calls for a “public-private” partnership, a three-year strategy aimed at growing the creative sector, and the creation of a BC Media Development Corporation, similar to Ontario’s Media Development Corporation, as ways to make BC more competitive.
“BC’s creative industries are at a turning point,” said Margaret Reynolds, Executive Director, Association of Book Publishers of BC. “As a province, we need to recognize the incredible potential and capacity of our creative sector, as well as their ability to attract investment and produce jobs. At the same time, in this period of rapid technological change, producers of creative content have to keep current, or risk falling behind other jurisdictions. That means industry and government need to work even more closely together to sharpen our competitive edge.”
Jurisdictions such as Britain recognize the potential of the creative industries for “wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.” That definition, and the incorporation of creative industries into the country’s overall economic planning, gives the sector stature alongside more traditional industries such as manufacturing, natural resources, tourism and agriculture.
“In their recent Global Outlook report, PricewaterhouseCoopers recognized creative industries as some of the world’s most dynamic sectors, with spending on entertainment and media markets worth $1.5 trillion by 2015,” explained Liz Shorten, Managing Vice-President, Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA).
“Here at home, creative industries employ more than a million Canadians, including 22,000 who work in BC’s gaming, wireless and mobile technology industries, and another 20,000 in BC’s billion dollar film and television production industry. But in the end, we’re no different than any other industry sector. If we’re not competitive, the work will go somewhere else.”
“Clearly, BC has the talent,” noted Bob D’Eith, Executive Director, Music BC. “Our talent has never been the issue. But, today we’re certainly at a competitive crossroad with plenty of other jurisdictions eyeing our people. As a province we need industry and government to continue to work in partnership. Together, we need to ramp up our collective game, understanding that if we’re going to grow our creative industries, we have to be granted the same kind of policy attention that mining, forestry, fishing and agriculture receive.”
“Collectively, our individual creative sectors are both challenged and energized by the opportunities in front of us,” added Sylvia Skene, Executive Director, Magazine Association of BC. “BC’s universities, colleges and institutes are producing a strong and creative talent base, and our ability to apply innovation to content development is leading edge. However, to reach our full potential we need government and industry to work hand-in-hand to ensure our economic potential and talent stays right here in British Columbia.”
About BC’s Creative Industries
The BC Producers’ Branch of the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) is a non-profit trade organization that works on behalf of over 75 British Columbia companies engaged in the production and distribution of television, feature film, and digital media content. It promotes the general interests of its members municipally, provincially, federally, and internationally; negotiates and manages labour agreements with guilds and unions; and undertakes a variety of industry development initiatives to build the capacity of BC based companies.
Music BC is a non-profit society dedicated to providing information, education, funding, advocacy, awareness and networking opportunities to nurture, develop and promote the spirit, growth, and sustainability of the BC Music community. Music BC is the only provincial music association that serves all genres, all territories and all participants in the industry from artists to managers, agents, broadcasters, recording studios, producers and all other industry professionals.
The Magazine Association of BC (MABC) represents, connects and promotes the BC magazine industry by uniting the talent, knowledge and skills of its publishers, editors, writers, graphic artists, salespeople and others in the industry. BC magazines foster award-winning talent and represent some of the best periodicals published in Canada. MABC membership is made up of a wide variety of magazines, from small to large, literary to lifestyle and leisure, arts and culture, news, business, and special interest magazines.
The Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC) is a provincial association of BC-owned and -controlled book publishing companies working to support the long-term health and success of the Canadian-owned book industry in British Columbia. The ABPBC believes a healthy BC book industry is essential to the educational, social, cultural and economic life of the province. British Columbia’s publishers produce books in all genres that engage and inform Canadian and international readers, young and old, scholars and those who read for pleasure.
Impact of British Columbia’s Creative Industries
British Columbia’s 70 plus book publishers produce over 1,200 titles a year in both print and digital formats and generate over $150 million in sales. Canada’s largest English-language publisher is based in BC along with important scholarly, children’s and Canada’s first Aboriginal publisher. BC books win national and international awards and are exported around the world.
Film and Television
Film and television production in BC boasts a world-class infrastructure, a large and skilled workforce, and a geographic proximity to Los Angeles. The industry in BC accounts for more than $1 billion in direct production spending for both foreign-service production and domestic Canadian production. The sector employs approximately 20,000 people directly with an additional 15,000 indirect jobs. BC is home to one of North America’s largest film and television sectors, along with Los Angeles, New York and Ontario.
There are more than 1,300 companies in BC’s digital media sector, creating innovative products in wireless and mobile, video gaming, animation and visual effects, web and social media, interactive marketing and e-learning. The sector employs 22,000 people and generates revenues of $3 billion a year, making it one of the most significant contributors to BC’s creative economy.
BC magazines foster award-winning talent and represent some of the best periodicals published in Canada. BC is home to hundreds of homegrown publications, from small to large, literary to lifestyle and leisure, arts and culture, news, opinion, business, and special interest magazines, both in print and online. These titles represent the diverse interests of British Columbians and are read by more than one million people around the world.
Music and Sound Recording
BC music industry generates over $500 million in revenue per annum. Not only has BC produced some of the world’s top acts including Bryan Adams, Diana Krall, Nelly Furtado and Nickelback, it is also a hot bed for music production. Studios such as the Warehouse and The Armory draw international acts and allow local acts access to world class facilities. BC also has some of the world’s top industry leaders such as Nettwerk, Bruce Allen Talent and SL Feldman & Associates.
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