Forces of Change in the Creative Industries – Going Beyond Tech
By Amine Djouahra
As we are nearing the end of the first half of 2023, we have all become more comfortable with change and disruption. Whether it is the pandemic, environmental factors, unstable global economic conditions, or tech evolution, we have learned to bounce back quickly. One industry that has had to be particularly agile during the past few years is the filmmaking industry.
Canon’s new report (written in conjunction with The Future Laboratory) – The Future of Filmmaking, reveals the industry’s efforts to be a catalyst of change that inspires the creative industry to transform its narrative and to shine its spotlight on topics that will be significant in shaping the future of our world, and that of the African continent.
Interestingly, the report sheds light on the human landscape and its power to create, cultivate, and drive change. The power of people ultimately makes things happen and pushes us toward progress and advancement in any industry. The report highlights four crucial aspects that may be driven by tech but not necessarily led by tech. In my view, these are significant factors directly proportional to the content creation and filmmaking industries and will undoubtedly shape the future of these industries.
Rise of the Creative Class
According to the UNESCO report, global cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are estimated to generate about $2.25 trillion annually, which accounts for 3% of the global GDP and employment of around 30 million people worldwide. It is fascinating to see the rise of this creator economy, which the report identifies as the “New Creative Class”. As we witnessed an unprecedented boom in digitalisation over the last 10 years, this creative class sprang into action using technologies to deliver a fresh and novel take on content creation.
If we lens in on the African continent, which is closer to home and more interesting to me, we see some remarkable trends in the creative economy. In Nigeria, as this report shows, the sector employs 4.2 million people and is expected to employ a further 2.7 million by 2025, an increase of more than 50% in the next two years.
Despite the significant contribution made by the new creative class toward societal and economic progress, there still seems to be a gap in recognition compared to other industries. The emerging community of content creators is striving to achieve fair working conditions, equitable payment models, and new standards in the industry that reflect their value and contributions. This is a positive development for the creative sector in its rightful plea to be recognised and treated fairly compared to other industries.
The explosion of digital technologies may have given us the power to do anything from anywhere, but like all things, too much of anything is not always good and has its consequences. An interesting trend emerged with the plethora of content choices that suddenly became available for audiences to consume worldwide. People slowly started taking their eyes off the global stage and shifted their gaze towards local and homemade content that told stories of their land and their people.
Given our natural desire as humans to find meaning, connectivity, and relatability, the narrative of authentic stories led independent storytellers, documentary-makers, content creators, and filmmakers to explore topics that local people resonate with. So, it’s no surprise that global streaming giants like Netflix and Disney are investing in Africa to tap the unexplored potential and talent. The report encapsulates the essence of the ‘Stay global, go local’ movement and asserts that media organisations and creative firms will progressively be compelled to shift sight closer to home when it comes to entertainment and content production.
The current climate crisis affects us all, no matter which industry or walk of life we come from. The severity of climate change needs to be taken seriously globally, and genuine efforts must be made for scaled initiatives to reduce our carbon footprints. The streaming industry is no exception to this; the carbon impact of the industry drastically needs to be reduced by adopting a more sustainable approach towards this issue.
The report underpins the significance of consumer demand as a key driver toward adopting sustainable practices and better industry standards. With people gaining more awareness about the environmental impact of their consumption choices, they are likely to demand pro-environmental practices, thus compelling the industry to adopt a pro-active approach towards sustainability.
The Future of Filmmaking report highlights the positive development of inclusivity and diversity. It emphasises that the new creative class is at the forefront of inclusivity and is not afraid to challenge the already-established broadcasters. This new generation of creators identifies technology to harness change and propel social progress. Decentralisation will be a key trend touching every area of the industry, from financing to licensing and distribution and more, creating new opportunities for the underrepresented creators and bringing them closer to their fans.
Continuing the Legacy of Storytelling
These trends are a wake-up call to many in the industry to pay attention to the changing needs of people and to evolve with them. However, we must always return to the basics and remember the importance of telling stories. While these trends affect the industry by and large, the shifts create more freedom for storytellers to come forth and tell their stories in unique and inspiring ways, enabling them to create content that is responsive to the tastes, locations, and ethics of their audiences in a way that has never been possible before.
All in all, the report tells me that this is an exciting time to be a creator, with the industry opening its doors to new opportunities that reflect change, growth, development, and progress.
Amine Djouahra is the B2C BU Director for Canon Central & North Africa