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Creative and Media

Future Trends

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  • The number of cultural and creative sector employees in the West Midlands region stood at 294,000 in 2007. Employment demands within the West Midlands' cultural sector are forecast to grow by an average of 12% overall between 2007 and 2017.*
  • Although creative areas are predicted generally to continue to grow and expand, opportunities will be in higher level, creative and technical jobs. These jobs often require high levels of qualifications and creative/technical ability.
  • There are plans to increase the number of creative industry Apprenticeships over the next few years to help develop the right skills and experience for the workforce.
  • All the creative industries will continue to be affected by technology which will allow them to produce their work in new ways, connect with users differently or to reorganise their business.
  • Over half of all males and one in four females play games regularly, and the computer games market is likely to expand as new technologies are introduced which make games more exciting and realistic. Improved technology will be an opportunity for the strong UK industry, but also a threat with more competition possible from large economies such as China.
  • The UK already has one of the most liberal TV and radio markets in the world after deregulation, and UK TV services are predicted to continue to develop at a rapid rate as we move towards digital services.
  • Commercial TV is dependent on advertising and in some cases on subscriptions, which in turn has been affected by the credit crisis - this may slow growth in the short and medium term until consumer confidence returns.
  • TV and radio will benefit from the Olympics and Paralympics as well as the European Football Championships, with greater viewer and listener numbers for stations providing coverage of these sports events.
  • There have been huge challenges to newspapers from new media such as the internet and from loss of advertising revenue. Fewer people buy papers, and some local and national papers are predicted to either fold or become weeklies rather than dailies.  As access to internet and digital TV increases this trend will continue, with many reading or listening to the news online.
  • Magazines, however, continue to sell well and the number of high quality free magazines produced by companies for their customers continues to increase.
  • UK book sales have held up well but there are already changes taking place to this market, with out-of-copyright books currently being scanned onto the internet by the search engine Google. Traditional booksellers have been affected by the cheaper sales from internet and supermarket sellers - but there is also evidence that this has increased sales, with shoppers' buying books more on impulse.
  • 17% of people in the publishing industry are self employed, working as a freelancer or sole trader - this trend is set to increase in the future.
  • In the music industry nine out of every ten new singles are sold digitally, with iTunes and downloads to mobile phones being some of the most popular ways to download. Digital sales of albums are also growing - but 90% of albums are still sold as CDs. However, profits are low for high street retailers who have been struggling because of competition in the market from online and supermarket retailers.  It is expected that digital sales of albums will increase as people increasingly listen before they buy on sites such as 'Spotify' and then go on to purchase and download digitally.
  • Live music and festivals are a continuing growth area - ticket sales from the live music industry in 2007 were £743 million.

Projection figures from 'Working Futures 2007-2017' Warwick Institute of Employment Research - November 2008.

*Learning and Skills Council, Working Futures Projections 2008 - in report Culture and Prosperity: The Economic Role of culture in the West Midlands - West Midlands Cultural Observations.