Finland/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

The "culture industries" were not, until late 1990s, been a central concept in Finnish cultural policies, which have, by and large, focused on the arts, heritage issues, cultural services, cultural participation and access to culture. This is reflected in the financing figures: only the press, radio- and television, film production and distribution and, to a minor extent, also book publishing, have special outlays in the state budget and their appropriations are close to nil in the municipal / city budgets. Architecture and design have been subsidised as artforms, and the performing arts are considered a part of cultural services and not as branches of the culture (or creative) industries. As the professional and basic arts education are not within the jurisdiction of cultural policy decision-making but are considered part of overall educational policies, the labour market issues of culture industries have neither been dealt with in art policies and cultural policies in any other sense as artist's social welfare security.

Since the 1970s, there have been studies defining culture industries in terms of given industrial branches; in the most recent studies the culture industries have been defined as industrial sub-sectors of copyright industries. As the line is drawn between culture industries and the "rest" of the copyright industries, the latter contain computer software, information systems, advertising and mass media (the press and traditional audio-visual media, i.e. radio and television), and the culture industries, which are:

  • book publishing (which, from a narrower cultural policy point of view can be restricted to cover belles-lettres and books for children and youth);
  • film and video sectors;
  • music industry (phonograms, concert activities);
  • visual arts (art markets);
  • performing arts (orchestras, theatre, opera, dance); and
  • architecture, design and photography.

In this classification, artistic work and heritage are seen as basic "primary industries" for production and distribution activities and consequently cultural policies pertain only to those sub-sectors of the media and cultural production which distinctly base their value-adding processes to artistic work and heritage. This distinction is not, however, taken universally as the basis in defining either culture industries or the domains of cultural policies.

In 2006 report drafting the national creativity strategy took overall creativity (i.e. in education and working life) as its starting point and, in respect to culture industries, prefers the British concept of creative industries to that of the above narrower concept. However the narrower concept was the starting point when the Ministry of Education and Culture started to actively promote cultural exports and the creative economy. The creativity report was followed by a development programme for cultural exports 2007-2011. The creative economy also had a significant part in the Ministry's 2020 Strategy, where entrepreneurship and exports in the arts and culture were strongly emphasised.

In the development programme of the Ministry of Education and Culture for the years 2007-2013, within the framework of the EU Structural Funds, the approach was even more entrepreneurial, that is, focussed on the economy, management, education and internationalisation in the creative economy. In October 2012 the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, published a report, prepared by a joint working group appointed by both ministries, assessing the increasing significance of creative skills for the renewal of economic structures and growth. The report proposed measures and development guidelines for the government term ending in 2015 and, to some extent, for the European Union 2014–2020 structural fund programming. The strategic guidelines of the group pertained to development for the business environment - on intellectual property rights; development of skills; entrepreneurship and the development of the business sector; control of business development services and interaction with the creative economy sector and the development of knowledge base.

During this time, most of the Finnish regions and major cities produced strategic papers on creative industries and the Ministry produced a report – Regional development work in the Creative Economy and Culture 2010-2020- to enhance the development in the regions. http://www.minedu.fi/export/sites/default/OPM/Julkaisut/2010/liitteet/OKMtr13.pdf?lang=fi.

Since the 2007-2013 Social Fund period the most intensive creative industries and creative economy boom has calmed down. The new social fund period of 2014-2020 emphasizes the application of arts and culture based knowledge and know-how in businesses and in the education and wider public sector, to increase opportunities for creative professionals to earn a living from their work. The main goal thus is to strengthen co-operation between art and culture and growth sectors and those sectors undergoing restructuring.  The other main line of support is aimed at young people, in preventing social exclusion from education and working life by supporting young people's inclusion and wellbeing. The objectives are thus quite different from the previous Social Fund periods and compliment the current cultural policy aim of cultural inclusion of children and young people.

In December 2016 a new interministerial (Ministries of Education and Culture; the Economic Affairs and Employment; and Social Affairs and Health) working group was appointed, led by the current Minister for Transport and Communications. The remit of the working group is to map the barriers hindering the development of the creative industries in economic forces in Finland. The working group will make proposal on how to best develop and support businesses and labour in the creative industries, how creative industries support mechanisms should be developed and how to develop the social security of artists and creative industries professionals. The working group will submit its report in spring 2017.

Strengthening the knowledge base of cultural policy and especially in the development of cultural industries, the understanding of the economic impact of culture has been a key challenge also in Finland for a good part of the last ten years. Since 2007 Statistics Finland has been collecting information about the economic contribution of culture in the Finnish economy with a culture satellite account. First data was produced for 1995-2005 in a pilot project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. After the pilot project, co-operation between Statistics Finland and the Ministry of Education and Culture to produce the culture satellite has been extended annually with a separate agreement.

The latest culture satellite accounts statistics describe the situation in 2014. The role of culture in the economy fell still slightly, and its share of GDP was 2.9 per cent in 2014, whereas it was 3.0 per cent one year earlier. The falling tendency was visible in both production, consumption and particularly in employment. As regards cultural employment, the number of employed persons in cultural industries in Finland has fallen in absolute terms nearly continuously from 2008 onwards, and the fall was particularly big in 2014, when compared to the previous year.

The significant exception was the games industry, which grew strongly in 2014 as well. In most industry groups, value added was either unchanged or slightly decreased, but small growth was visible in the fields of live culture and radio and TV activities. The share of culture in employment was 3.5 per cent in 2014. The share of culture in employment is clearly higher than its share of value added or output, which were both 2.9 per cent in 2014.

Table 1:    Output, value added, employment and production shares of cultural activities 2010-2014

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Output, million EUR

11 036

11 519

11 598

11 265

11 260

Value added, million EUR

5 355

5 459

5 489

5 155

5 165

Employed, 100 persons

1 046

1 052

1 041

995

870

Share (%) of output

3,1

3,0

3,0

2,9

2,9

Share (%) of value added

3,3

3,2

3,2

3,0

2,9

Share (%) of employed

4,2

4,2

4,1

4,0

3,5

Source:  Statistics Finland, Culture Satellite Accounts 2014, www.stat.fi, Tables in database

Table 2:    Share of value added of culture, in %, 2010-2014 – ESA 2010

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Artistic, theatre and concert activities

9.0

8.8

8.9

10.2

10.4

Libraries, archives, museums etc.

5.6

5.8

5.7

6.2

5.9

Art and antique shops

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.2

Production and distribution of books

6.7

6.4

6.7

6.8

7.2

Newspapers, periodicals and news agencies

18.4

18.4

17.9

16.1

15.4

Production and distribution of motion pictures and videos

5.3

5.4

6.9

6.0

5.0

Manufacture and sale of musical instruments

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.3

Sound recordings

1.0

1.0

1.2

1.4

1.7

Radio and television

9.3

9.6

7.8

7.2

8.7

Printing and related activities

9.6

8.6

8.4

8.2

7.9

Advertising

11.0

11.1

11.5

11.6

11.6

Architectural and industrial design

5.7

5.9

5.9

6.2

6.3

Photography

1.8

1.4

1.4

1.5

1.3

Amusement parks, games and other entertainment and recreation

7.6

8.3

7.8

7.8

7.9

Manufacture and sale of entertainment electronics

1.8

2.1

1.9

1.8

2.0

Organisation of cultural events and related activity

3.1

3.1

3.5

4.3

3.8

Education and cultural administration

3.8

3.9

4.1

4.3

4.3

Cultural industries, TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

Source: Statistics Finland, Culture Satellite Accounts 2014, stat.fi.

Looked at from another angle a recent study (2014) on "Direct copyright revenue streams in creative industries in Finland" tells a different story. It uses the Wipo definition of culture and thus includes software and databases.  According to the study the direct copyright revenue streams rose by 45 % from 2008 to 2012. The biggest growth has taken place in computer games (78%) and in software and databases (56%). But there was overall growth in all industries apart from advertising. The Table below illustrates the situation. Of the total copyright revenue streams software's share was 62.4% and that of computer games 11.8%.

Table 3:    Direct copyright revenue streams in million EUR, 2008 and 2012

 

2012

2008

Press and literature

148.9

116.0

Music, theatre productions and opera

94.2

89.9

Motion picture and video

138.6

114.7

Radio and television

273.8

224.4

Photography

65.2

61.5

Software and databases

1 830.0

1 170.0

Computer games

347.0

194.4

Visual and graphic arts

7.3

6.5

Advertising

26.2

45.0

Grand total

2 931.2

2 022.4

Source:    Tarja Koskinen-Olsson and Jari Muikku, Direct Copyright Revenue Streams in Finland. An evaluation. Finnish Copyright Society-Finnish Copyright Institute, Publications No 31. 2014. Helsinki.

Internationalisation of Finnish culture industries has accelerated in the 2000s. This has happened both in terms of Finnish acquisitions of foreign media companies and the acquisition of Finnish media companies by foreign companies (publishing houses in particular). This development has involved competition between the major media companies of the Nordic countries, where one of their objectives has been expansion in the Baltic Sea Region. In 2001, the Finnish "media giant", SanomaWSOY, bought VNU, a Dutch journal publisher, and this and acquisitions in the Baltic countries boosted its turnover close to EUR three billion. In another major deal the other two Nordic media giants, Norwegian Schibsted and Swedish Bonnier competed in 2005 for ownership of the second largest Finnish media conglomerate, Alma Media and especially for its television activities. Bonnier won and gained (together with Proventus Industrier AB) the control of Alma Media's commercial television channel. More recently (in 2011) Bonnier bought WSOY Finland's leading publisher of general literature from Sanoma Oy. In the same transaction Sanoma Oy, which is giving up its general literature publishing, bought two Bonnier's publishing firms of educational books. These deals reflect how the "media giants" of the Nordic countries are focusing on key strategic areas in their respective businesses. Despite these deals, the Finnish culture industries have maintained a high level of domestic content (see chapter 4.2.6).

In recent years, the main issue in the financing of culture industries has been the promotion of exports, or, in more general terms, invigorating entrepreneurship in creative industries (see chapter 3.3 and chapter 8.1). From a longer time perspective, the two main topics of national debate in respect to the promotion of culture industries (or should one say creative industries) have been the financing of the audiovisual sector, more specifically the activities of the public broadcasting company YLE, and domestic film production. State subsidy for film production has increased substantially.

Up to the end of 2012, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (FBC / YLE) was financed mainly by licence fees paid by households. The company's financial problems accumulated as another important source, the public service compensation fee paid by the commercial TV-companies, was first halved and then abolished in 2007. The debates about financing and about the limits of FBC's "public service function" started again in 2010 and resulted in a parliament decision, in 2012, to renew the financing and governance structure of the FBC. From the beginning of 2013 the FBC has been financed by a so-called FBC tax, collected from individual Finnish citizens and businesses. The state, municipalities and the church are exempt from the tax. FBC tax is collected from citizens according to income, with the smallest amount of tax being 50 EUR and the largest 140 EUR. Businesses are taxed according to profits made.

The debates on film production have also focussed mainly on money: the need for increased public support for national film production. In recent years the film industry has been in an improved negotiation position because Finnish films have found increasing popularity among domestic audiences (in 2010 the share of audiences for domestic films was 27%) and gained (especially through the success of Aki Kaurismäki's "art films" and Finnish documentaries and short films) increasing international visibility. The goal has been set to reach the same level of public funding as the other Nordic countries have already reached. In the state budgets of 2008, 2009 and 2010 the outlay for film production was substantially increased and, as film production also received its share of special employment funds, the objective of increasing financing to EUR 28 million (EUR 27.4 million) was reached in the 2011 budget. The problem for the sector is the fact that the other Nordic countries have meanwhile also strongly increased their investments in film production.

The problem has also been how to co-ordinate the financing support that is unevenly coming from different sources. The main financier of Finnish feature film production has been the state via the Finnish Film Foundation, but other financiers have been broadcasting companies, (increasingly only the public one, i.e. the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE) and AVEK (The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture). AVEK is maintained by Kopiosto, the copyright organisation. Financing can be based on bi-lateral or trilateral agreements between these three parties. There are no longer formal contractual partnership agreements between them. The Nordic Film and Television Fund, Eurimages and the EU Media Plus programme also provide highly important funding and encourage public-private partnerships.

In January 2012, the Finnish Centre for Media Education and Audiovisual Media (MEKU) started operating as a Ministry of Education and Culture subordinate authority to maintain and develop an online classification system for audiovisual programmes and to promote media education. MEKU was established to take over the activities of the Finnish Board of Film Classification, which closed in 2011, by new legislation (Act on Audiovisual Programmes, 710/2011 and the Act on the Finnish Centre for Media Education and Audiovisual Programmes, 711/2011; see also chapter 5.3) that came into effect on 1 January 2012. These Acts cover and repeal the former acts on age classification of programmes for the protection of children against exhibition of pornography and violence. MEKU merged with the National Audiovisual Archive (KAVA) in January 2014. The new body is called the National Audiovisual Institute.

Helsinki, together with surrounding cities of Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti, hosted the World Design Capital in 2012. The year was implemented and managed by the International Design Foundation. The themes of the year, with ideas submitted by designers and the general public, were architecture, urban planning, interior design, sustainable design, industrial design and communication design. According to the WDC final report there were 550 projects and 2 800 events across the Helsinki capital region. The programme was implemented by a network of 14 500 people and 290 organisations in Finland and abroad. The report estimates that the design year's events and sites attracted nearly 2.5 million visitors.

The total funds managed by the International Design Foundation during 2010-2013 were EUR 17.8 million. The WDC was financed by the five cities (together allocating EUR 6 million), the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Ministry of Education and Culture (EUR 5 million), corporate partners and other sources (for the final report and impact assessment, see http://www.hel.fi/hki/helsinki/en/current/wdc-reports).

The WDC project also gathered information and experiences for a new national design programme, prepared in 2012 by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Culture. The programme, named "Design Finland" proposes 29 measures aimed at strengthening design skills and their utilisation. The key theme in the programme is that enterprises and the public sector need better design competence. The programme's strategic objectives address design competence, research and education; multi-sectoral design skills; more effective use of design by important growth industries and design as a tool for the public sector to develop society and increase well-being.


Chapter published: 25-04-2017


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