Britain’s creative digital exports come in at £21bn

The first comprehensive attempt to put a figure on the value of Britain’s ‘Creative Digital’ exports -- from YouTube to online newspapers -- has come back with a hefty figure of £21billion.

Indicating that such exports could actually be some £6billion higher than previously thought, the Creative Industries Federation found ‘CD’ services now represent almost 70% of the nation’s creative services exports as a whole.

These are impressive too – accounting for as much as £46bn in terms of the value of goods and services the creative industries expert, representing growth of nearly £10bn, and 24% higher than the official figure.

But is the rise of creative digital services, which includes anything ranging from a PC game bought on the Steam platform to a YouTube tutorial from a Coventry ceramics company, which inspired the counting exercise.

“Previous estimates have not been able to capture the full extent of the UK’s digital trade… and [the] designers and developers [who are] reaping the rewards of online game downloads,” the federation said.

“The digital age has opened up new opportunities for the creative industries to reach global audiences, through platforms such as Amazon Appstore, Google Play, YouTube [and] Facebook”.

Confirming that YouTube is somewhat of a British phenomenon, Google said the UK was one of the biggest content exporters, with 78% of all views on videos uploaded in the UK being watched by users in a different country.

And it’s far from just a few creative companies monopolising the action.

“All sectors of the UK’s creative industries are using the opportunities that digital technology provides to increase their sales, innovate and reach new audiences who are hungry for UK products and services,” says the Creative Industries Council chair Nicola Mendelsohn.

In the report, the federation said the updated findings on creative industry exports (such as £31bn now accounting solely for creative “services” exports as distinct to “goods”), should act as “a guide” when trying to tot up the creative economy’s export value in the future.

It might also head-off an age-old issue. “Sometimes people overlook creative and digital products when talking about exports, focusing instead on physical items,” says David Dunn, the chief executive of Sunderland Software City “The UK export market is much larger than usually stated.”

The figures could even help bring more recognition to those working in the CD space -- freelancers, the report highlights, including the team of seven who recently worked for a US supermarket designing a fully ‘digital-first’ design for its new retail brand.

 

16th March 2018

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