First-of-Its-Kind Report Assembles Hard Numbers on the World's Creative Industries


United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.   

CISAC president Jean-Michel Jarre hopes the report can be used to bolster governmental reforms worldwide in support of creators.

Creative industries contributed $2.25 trillion to the global economy, but the creators behind the boom are not properly compensated, according to an in-depth report presented by global rights group CISAC at a press conference in Paris this morning.

The report was presented by CISAC president Jean-Michel Jarre and director general Gadi Oron, UNESCO director general Irina Bokov and EY consultant Marc Lhermitte, who prepared the 120-page report (downloadable here).

While the world's creative industries are bigger than the automotive or telecoms industries, employing nearly 30 million people worldwide and spidering through the global economy by bolstering other businesses like tourism, manufacturing and electronics sales, those who create content "have never been more fragile," Jarre told the crowd gathered at the UNESCO offices.

Jarre said the impressive economic numbers revealed by the study will prove to be ammunition for coming debates with governments around the world. "We can’t lose focus on what is at stake here. It is about the people behind music, TV programs, books, magazines, newspapers, plays, visual arts, architecture. So for the first time, thanks to the study, we have a much more clear picture what creators and their industries bring to the global economy in terms of revenues and jobs."


The top three industries in terms of revenue were revealed to be television, which generates $477 billion per year, visual arts with $391 billion per year, followed by newspapers and magazines at $354 billion per year. Television employs 3.5 million people worldwide, visual arts 6.7 million, and newspapers and magazines employ 2.8 million.

Music came in tenth out of the eleven industries in global revenue, with $65 million per year, and radio last with $46 million per year. In spite of its low showing in terms of revenue, music was second in terms of number of people employed, coming in second with 3.97 million workers worldwide. Radio employs just 500,000.

The study included eleven sectors across the 120 countries within CISAC’s scope, including advertising, architecture, books, gaming, music, movies, newspaper and magazines, performing arts, radio, television and visual arts.

Creative content contributed $200 billion to the growing digital economy.

"It’s a major force behind the new digital economy and the creators do not have access to fair renumeration," he said. "For me this is a landmark study, now we can meet with policy makers and explain what our real contribution to the economy is. And we can go to policy makers in developing countries and provide them with the evidence that they should support creative industries because they are a factor for economic growth."


Both Jarre and Oron stressed the importance of increasing legal protections for content creators since internet and e-commerce giants that derive profit from creative content -- "you know who I’m talking about," said Lhermitte -- but don’t pay creators do not have incentive to change their behavior.

"The transfer of value is what happens when internet intermediaries capture value to create multimillion-dollar businesses on the back creative content, but fail to properly remunerate the creators," said Jarre. CISAC, which marks its 90th birthday in 2016,will push an ambitious program of solidifying authors’ rights and royalties next year he said.

The report demonstrates "an amazing global market for culture and creativity, but what we cannot forget is that at the end of the day it all comes down to individual creators who are the foundation for this hugely important market."

Asia is responsible for bringing in one-third of all revenue globally and forty percent of jobs, which Lhermitte termed "one of the biggest surprises" of the study. "It’s fueled by the largest demographics of course, but also a massive middle class that is hungry for modern technology and news." Europe comes in second and North America in third, with creative industries representing 4 percent of the GDPs in both.

"What we’ve seen is that instead of leading to standardization of cultural content, the digital revolution has made a broad range of cultural goods including books, movies, songs, which were usually difficult to access with brick and mortar distribution, especially in developing countries." But piracy in those markets remains a major problem, he said.

"We must persuade consumers to pay for something they’ve been accessing for free," said Lhermitte.  

While apps and streaming have created new sources of revenue, only 6.5 percent of all the royalties collected globally came from digital market in 2014, added Oron.

"The value chains are distorted in favor of the internet intermediaries," he said. "This all boils down to the transfer of value. We have those that create enormous profits on the backs of using and exploiting creative works, and the creators of these works who get very little of the money made from the digital market today."

Added Oron:  "We need legal frameworks that protect creators and creative works and provide stability for the creative sector."