Published: production networks in the cultural and creative sector: case studies from the audiovisual industry

The 2009 UNESCO framework for cultural statistics, used by the European Union 2017 report, divides the audiovisual industry into three main categories: film, television and radio broadcasting, videogames and multimedia. The aim of this report is to present the audiovisual industry through the lens of the concept of global production networks (GPNs). The theory of global production networks is relatively new and is mainly associated with classical industries such as automotive, textiles, etc. Its application to the cultural industries, and specifically to the audiovisual industry, goes beyond the economic dimensions and highlights the cultural and socio-political aspects of these markets.

The report consists of four parts. The first part is the basis for the subsequent analysis. It deals with the specificity of the goods and services produced in the audiovisual industry, labour as a unique resource, embeddedness and its cultural, economic and social dimensions. The final part of this section looks at current policies and regulations in the industry at national and European level.

The second part provides a statistical mapping of the audiovisual industry – film, television and radio and video games. The statistical data used is from Eurostat (at European level) and by the Observatory of Cultural Economics – at the national level, in Bulgaria. The analysis is made applying the GPN framework to the existing range of statistics. Those activities that are not covered by statistics have been analysed and recommendations made.

The third part presents the four case studies, selected and developed by the Bulgarian and Austrian research teams: the Bulgarian film production company KLAS film and its co-production production network; the European Broadcasting Union represented through the production network of the European Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) with the entry point Bulgarian National Television; the EBU radio activities represented through the production network of the music radio exchange platform MUS with the entry point Bulgarian National Radio and Austrian VIENNESE gaming production. The fieldwork (interviews) for the case studies was conducted in the unusual situation created by the COWID pandemic. Almost all of the interviews were online, and we had a total of 44 interviews: 17 in the film industry, 12 in the television and radio industry and 15 in the games industry.

The final fourth section of the report is a brief summary of the achievements, with comments on the research questions that arose.

The emerging economic, social and health crisis caused by the global COVID19 pandemic has raised many issues for the cultural industries to address. It is evident that we are going through a “moment” of de-globalization (in the production of food, medical equipment, medicines, etc.), but how will economic stagnation affect the development of production networks in the audiovisual industry? In this changed context, we believe that analysis through the lens of global production networks is particularly productive in the area of audiovisual industries and it deserves to be further developed.

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