2 min read
16 Apr

For the past few months I have been delving into technology driven changes. Whether its AI, chapGPT or bitcoins and crypto, on so many levels, it feels like the jobs we know, are changing in ways that are almost incompressible. It almost feels like machines and technology are “taking over” – but not everywhere. There is a whole hidden side of an economy that few people actually consider business – the creative economy. I recently read about this concept and it was a refreshing change of perspective.

What is the creative industry?

The creative economy includes all those jobs ,where the core offering or core work is linked to arts, music, creative design, etc. This includes film and TV; publishing; museums; music and the performing arts; computer programming; crafts; and architecture and design. It also includes creative occupations which are not part of creative businesses, such as design, advertising etc.

Let’s look at the numbers – you may be surprised.

It is a very large economy in terms of employment and value with cultural and creative industries providing 6.2 per cent of all employment – that’s a whopping 50 million jobs worldwide. The global exports of creative goods increased from US$ 419 million in 2010 to US$ 524 million in 2020, while world exports of creative services increased from US$ 487 billion to almost US$ 1.1 trillion during the same period. 

If you find movies and gaming interesting, here are some even more fun facts: Avatar: The Way of Water grossed over a whopping US$ 2.1 billion. The Harry Potter franchise is estimated to be worth almost US$ 25 billion and the global gaming market is estimated to be worth around a US$ 200 billion. Art too also is thriving. As per Statista, the global art market was valued at US$ 65.1 billion in 2021, recovering from the sharp fall due to the pandemic.

It’s a valuable industry – in intangible ways too

The economic linkages of creative industries, are evident. For instance, if an economy develops its digital, music or even fashion and design skills, this can potentially make it more attractive as a destination for investments in video content. This could lead to growth in the associated sectors such as music, merchandising, advertising, etc. Today, creative outputs have multiple spaces and economic avenues. Books, get made into movies or series – sometimes both. Movies are no longer dependent on traditional cinema and OTT platforms provide a platform for more creative spaces at smaller budgets. Creative industries are also significant users of technology services. Music, videos and content creation is an obvious one. Then there is VFX technology, collaborative software for recording, or, NFT’s in the art space. AI is being used increasingly across creative work as well especially within the customer interactive spaces.

Room for more – lots of it.

The linkages that this creative industry provides are psychological, social and economic. Creative work brings out human emotions. It appeals to an intangible, unpredictable part of our lives. The unpredictability, is the other side of flexibility, so it’s always changing and the linkages are changing with it. Employment, flexibility and emotional connect – tangible, measurable, yet esoteric. It’s a potent industry with so many business opportunities between the spaces. Are you going to find a gap to fill?

This article was originally published in Bahrain This Month's March 2023 issue