Spain/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

The basic lines of action of the Ministry are included in the Plan for the Promotion of the Cultural and Creative Industries, started in 2009. In the 2014 edition, it still does not include a definition of "cultural / creative industries", but it mentions the sectors to be included in the "cultural and creative industries". Following the classification of the European Commission Green Paper: Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries, the Plan adds to the traditional sectors of film, visual arts, cultural heritage, performing arts, television, radio, music, books and newspapers, new sectors closely linked to innovation and creativity such as: design, fashion, architecture, advertising, new media, video games and interactive arts.

At regional level, the sectors that are usually included within the "cultural industries" do not differ much from those considered at the state level. Thus, with the creation in 2000 of the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries (20/2000 Act), the concept of "culture industry" covered the cultural productions from the audiovisual world, the press, the radio, the television, books, music, performing arts, visual arts or multimedia, and their distribution. The changes in the Catalan government at the end of 2010 led to a change in the naming of the Institute, that became the Catalan Institute of Cultural Companies, as well as in the sector approach, since the media were excluded and the video game sector was included. The Galician Agency for Cultural Industries was launched in June 2008 under the Department of Culture and Sports of the Galician government. This Agency encompasses all the arts and cultural activities carried out by creative individuals, businesses and cultural industries. More recently, the former Directorate-General for Innovation and Cultural Industries, under the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of the Andalusian government, has been renamed as Directorate-General for Creative Industries and Book. Finally, the governments of Asturias and Castile-Leon have also taken an important step towards the promotion of the cultural industry through the White Paper on Cultural Industries in the Principality of Asturias and the I Cultural and Creative Industries Plan of Castile-Leon 2013-2016 respectively.

According to the Cultural Statistics Yearbook 2014, published by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, which includes data from the Satellite Account for Culture in Spain 2008-2012, the cultural industries sector represented almost 2.5% of GDP in 2012 (and 3.4% if one takes into account all activities related to intellectual property), and generates spill-over effects in many other sectors of the Spanish economy, particularly in the field of information technologies, communication, innovation and tourism. The latest data shows that the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the Spanish culture industries in 2012 was 25 263 million EUR (and 33 594 million EUR if one takes into account all activities related to intellectual property). The most important are the publishing sector (9 640 million EUR) and audiovisual and multimedia (6 139 million EUR). The number of companies, whose main economic activity was defined as cultural, reached 108 556 in 2013, approximately 3.4% of all those recorded in the Central Companies Directory, published by the National Statistics Institute. In comparison to the previous year, more than 2 000 companies have closed down, which nearly represents 2% of the total. As regards the number of employees, 99% of cultural enterprises had between 0 and 9 employees in 2013, while only 0.1% had more than 100. Data from the Labour Force Survey published by the National Statistics Institute show that the number of employed people in the cultural field in 2013 was approximately 485 300, around 2.8% of total employment.

From a global perspective, there are four main challenges to be overcome by the culture industries in Spain:

  • find a balance between the financial viability of the culture industries while, at the same time, adhering to rules preventing economic or cultural monopolies, particularly in the field of multimedia;
  • reaffirm the independence of the culture industries, such as book publishing, film and the audiovisual arts in general;
  • revise the approach to subsidising the culture industries (e.g. through grants, cheap loans, tax relief) to focus more on the creative side of the operation and improve access to credit markets for small and medium firms; and
  • persuade people to recognise that culture industries are a source of future economic growth as well as a mean of access to culture. Two possibilities for achieving this objective would be to foster "multimedia clusters" and to establish the application of new technologies to culture as one of the poles of regional development (see chapter 4.2.11).

The government's commitment to promote the culture industries resulted in the creation of a new Directorate-General for Cultural Industries and Policy and the implementation, in December 2008, of a Plan for the Promotion of Cultural Industries. For the year 2014, the lines of action of the Plan can be summarised as: promotion of creators and cultural industries, and growth, consolidation and internalisation of cultural firms.

In the particular context of small and medium enterprises (SME), the government, through the different plans for the promotion of cultural industries, has recognised the key role of SMEs as the core of the Spanish cultural and creative industry, and has addressed one of the main problems faced by these companies: the financing of cultural and creative projects. To do this, the government has implemented a system of capital grants, and access to credit together with the Sociedad de Garantía Recíproca Audiovisual [Mutual Guarantee Society], to promote the modernisation, innovation and technological adaptation of cultural companies and to increase the legal supply of cultural content on the Internet.

Other measures implemented by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport are the following:

  • aids for action and cultural promotion, which are primarily related to foundations and associations;
  • CreArte Awards for promoting creativity and innovation in state schools;
  • FormArte Scholarships for training and specialisation in activities and subjects within the competence of cultural institutions under the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport; and
  • CULTUREX Scholarships for training and specialisation in cultural management in cultural institutions abroad.

Specifically in the case of books, the government priorities are national and international promotion, as well as the promotion of reading and Spanish letters. The current government has expressed on several occasions its willingness to continue supporting the publishing industry in its adaptation to the digital environment, through specific aids for the modernisation and digitisation of cultural industries, but also through negotiations to achieve, within the framework of the European Community legislation, the same taxes for conventional books and digital books regardless of their form of commercialisation. In addition, the Ministry continues supporting the internationalisation of the Spanish book industry through its presence in international book fairs and through the dissemination of Spanish books (and Spanish literature). For that, the Ministry collaborates with the network of the Cervantes Institute, cultural centres and universities in Latin America. In the specific area of the promotion of reading, the Reader's House opened in Madrid in November 2012 as a cultural centre aimed at facilitating the meeting of the public in general and the professional world.

At legislative level, the Spanish book industry benefits from the Ministry's "cultural exception" policy, with fixed book prices and the Reading, Books and Libraries Act, passed in 2007, which promoted the creation of a Reading and Book Observatory (see also chapter 5.3.4).

The cinema and audiovisual sector has been especially touched by the economic crisis. In addition to the decrease in public resources allocated to film production, cinema has been affected by an increase in VAT (see also chapter 5.1.5). The discomfort by the sector, one of the most active in its opposition to the government, led, in December 2012, to the creation of a commission for the study of a new funding model for the film and audiovisual sector. Composed of all ministerial departments directly or indirectly involved in film and audiovisual funding, as well as of the cinema and audiovisual sector, this commission seeks to channel the initiatives and needs that should be reflected in the design of a new funding model for the sector. In the particular area of support for the digitisation of cinemas, at the end of 2012, the Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute (ICAA), in collaboration with the Official Credit Institute, has launched a new line of support through which companies can access credits with a subsidised interest rate, which is assumed by the ICAA. Both organisms also maintain a line of capital grants to promote the production of feature and animated films. In addition to these measures, the government also seeks to foster new business models of distribution and exhibition of films and to promote the international dissemination of Spanish cinema, especially through presence in the major international festivals. With regard to this last point, the government has established a commission composed of all ministerial departments directly or indirectly involved in the international promotion of the cinema and audiovisual sector to implement a coordinated foreign policy in the promotion of the sector.

In recent years, with the aim of promoting the presence of European films in Spanish cinemas, the government has placed the quota system under firmer control and is also providing support for independent distributors. In addition, television operators (public and private) are obliged to invest 6% (if public) or 5% (if private) of their annual income in the production of European cinema and TV films (3% reserved for Spanish production). The reinforcement of this measure, which was established under the 25/1994 Act but with low compliance rates, has been essential in recent years, to finance production and increase stability in the audiovisual production sector, since one-third of the external funding comes from television.

In the area of creation, with special repercussions for the music sector, the Ministry has basically worked on two lines of action: the first is to update the legislation on intellectual property, and the second is to draw society's attention to the need to respect both cultural creators and cultural products. In the first line of action, the Information Society Directive (34/2002 Act) has been introduced, and the Intellectual Property Act has been modified (23/2006 Act) (see also chapter 5.1.7). In the second line, the Comprehensive Plan for reducing and eliminating activities that infringe intellectual property (better known as the Anti-piracy Plan) was approved in 2005, to stop activities that infringe intellectual property rights. In December 2008, the Manual of Good Practices for the prosecution of crimes against intellectual property was presented by the Ministry of Culture. More recently, the government launched the label Cultura en Positivo, an initiative to support the legal supply of cultural content on the Internet, as well as some toolkits and handbooks on online security and intellectual property rights specially targeted at young people, parents, teachers, academic institutions and museums (see chapter 4.2.11).

Regarding the third sector, the Coalition of Creators and Content Industries consists of several associations that are linked to authors and to the music and film industries in Spain. Their aim is to lobby for the tightening of intellectual property law and other measures against file sharing on P2P networks. The association was created in 2008 and in June of that same year, it published a manifesto entitled Rights for all on the Internet.

The growing discomfort by artists, authors and publishers about the high rates of Internet piracy led, in October 2009, to the establishment of an Interministerial Committee composed of eight Ministries (First Vice President and Ministry of the Presidency, Second Vice President and Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, and Ministry of Culture), with the main task of fighting the violation of intellectual property rights via the Internet. The work of this Committee firstly guided the Draft Act and later, the Act on Sustainable Economy, not without strong opposition from Internet users, telecommunications companies and political parties (see chapter 5.1.7).

In recent years, there have been many higher education programmes for professionals employed in culture industries. Catalonia was one of the first Autonomous Communitiesto cater for the sector. For many years now, the Pompeu Fabra University has offered a Master's programme in publishing and several postgraduate diplomas in company management in the music industry; content management; management of cultural institutions, companies and platforms, and creation of videogames. It also offers a postgraduate course in global publishing in Spanish and international publishing. The University of Barcelona has a Master's programme in cultural companies and institutions and a postgraduate programme in show production and management. In addition, the Open University of Catalonia and the International University of Catalonia offer a postgraduate programme in culture and creative industries; the Carlos III University of Madrid offers a Master's degree in cinema and television; the University of Valladolid has a Master's degree in culture industries management. At graduate level, the University of Barcelona launched a Degree in Communication and Cultural Industries for the first time during 2011-2012, and the University of Huelva offers a Degree in Cultural Management since 2012-2013.

There are several public-private initiatives launched in Spain to promote the territorial reorganisation of the audiovisual sector and to build an internationally competitive industry. This is the case of the Ciudad de la Imagen, promoted in the nineties by the Autonomous Community of Madrid, or Terrassa Audiovisual City, promoted in 2001 by the Catalan Government and Terrassa City Council. Both projects were established with the aim of making these cities the driving force behind the Spanish audiovisual industry both at home and abroad. In 2009 Terrassa Audiovisual City was classified as a prime example of good practice in promoting creativity and innovation by the European Commission. The Catalan project is complemented by the project Parque Barcelona Media in the city's technological district - distrito 22@ - which was set up to reinforce the productive, cultural and research position of Barcelona and Catalonia. The Parque Barcelona Media, which is the result of collaboration between the Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona City Council and the business group Mediapro, is a platform of audiovisual and communication facilities and services, in which private companies and the university work together in the same location.


Chapter published: 24-06-2015


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