Published on November 6th, 2013 | by Jonnie Turpie


A Compelling Case for Creative Industries

Today, social networks, search engines and other digital platforms help to generate new products and services which rely upon highly creative talent. We see this at all levels – from production, where digital tools are transforming the creative process, to distribution (with new platforms) and consumption (devices).

For instance, the advent of affordable 3D printers and digital platforms for the distribution of product blueprints promises to bring the same disruption to product design that we have already seen in music and publishing, disturbing creative sectors like crafts as well as manufacturing value chains.

What is true for the music and publishing industries also applies to other creative industries, whether they provide content or services to their customers.

Amazon already sells more e–books than paperbacks.

Advertisers spend more money online than they do offline.

Broadcasters operate digital streaming services that can be accessed on computers, smart phones, tablets and video games consoles.

Industries like fashion, which trade in physical goods rather than bits, are being transformed by blogging, along with image–sharing and e–commerce sites.

Creative businesses are also innovating on their pricing strategies in the digital economy. Take for instance, the ‘Freemium’ model, where a business provides free access to a ‘sampler’ or a ‘no frills’ version of a good or service for consumers who are then given the option of paying for ‘premium’ features (such as ‘virtual items’, extra content, professional features, more storage space and so on).

The ‘metered’ paywalls being adopted by an increasing number of newspapers, where users are only charged after going over a threshold of free articles, are another good example of innovative pricing strategies in this digital age. The New York Times, a leader in the adoption of this model, reached 450,000 subscribers in 2012, generating for the first time more revenue from its circulation than via advertisements.

Mike Lynch, former CEO of Autonomy, has remarked that only now are we finishing the first phase of the digital revolution. According to him, it will be in the second phase –where computers become better at extracting meaning from data – when ‘everything will change.’

Digital applications are becoming more and more integrated with creative industries. As the Internet matures, then the multiplatform, transmedia and Future Internet as it is called globally, is an area of research we encourage in defining the Creative Industries Special Interest Group (SIG). This is the wider context through which the Creative Industries SIG can establish the relevance and value of creative industries in the wide range of projects and research at WMG.

The SIG will also offer the opportunity for staff and students to have some fun away from their day jobs! Sometimes fun and play can be the chance to ‘free up’, be innovative and allow for new ways approaching a problem or opportunity.

So watch this space!


Jonnie Turpie is a Principal Fellow at WMG with a focus on digital innovation and the Creative Industries. Over the past 20 years. Jonnie has been a Director of Maverick Television, which he founded and has grown into one of the UK's leading regional and national independent production companies.

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