Liveblog – NESTA at the Labour Party Fringe

Creative Licence – how the creative industries are reshaping the economy

nestalab1I’m Liveblogging this fringe event, one of a series of meetings being hosted in the Fringe of all the party conferences.  Please refresh the page to see the updates.
12:34 The Creative Industries are a ‘key’ sector at the heart of the recovery.

12:36 Peter Bazalgette

Opens with remarks about RAI and Berlusconi.  Involving the BBC in too much politics is a mistake.  Parties all have  a policy on the BBC.  PB Supports Bradshaw on top-slicing of the BBC.  But top-slicing needs to go into quality, not tired regional news.

“There is no digital dividend”  – most media companies don’t see what theor business model is anymore.  This is a big problem.

“We need as much ‘nudge’ as ‘fudge'” on the management of digital rights.

12:40 Needs better balance between ‘pay’ and ‘free’.  ITV is commercially challenged.  Product placement is marginal but does improve the position for advertisers.  Medium term prospects for TV uncertain.  Bur longer term it will work.

Professional content will always be attractive to advertisers – this won’t change.  Training is a major issue, he says and it’s getting worse.

12:43 Richard Wilson – TIGA

Games sector makes an important contribution to the economy and is very export focused.  Important role to play.

In the games sector qualifications are higher (80% at degree level) and average salaries are higher than other sectors at £30k.
Sector is growing globally but contracting in the UK.  Poor supply of staff is the issue.  Need incentives.

12:50 Miranda Sawyer

Public Money is often a hindrance to progress.  But there is a role for public investment in the arts.  We tend to under value our capabilities in this.  Example of Liverpool as the Capital of Culture – drove investment in the city.  Public money is needed in education and in big projects.  Public money can be used to attract private investment and stimulate the economy.  But it’s also about stimulating well-being.

12:53 Ben Bradshaw

The assumption is that the creative industries are re-shaping the economy.  He thinks this is true.  Every fringe event at this conference on creative industries has been ‘packed out’.  Hears the pleas for support from people like Richard Wilson.

12:56 Creative industries are ‘not a luxury’, they are central to the economy and to our heritage.  Museums very important also.

But how do we defend our creative value in a global economy?  How can we make sure artists get compensated for – £180m a year ‘lost’ through illegal file-sharing.  Digital Britain bill will reflect the unity of the musicians who made announcements last week.  It’s an important issue.  Bill will be brought forward in this Parliament.

Universal broadband access is an important aspect of the bill  – this is something that the market will not provide – he says 40% of the country can’t get it.  Needs to go further than 2 MBbps – need universal NGA through fixed-line levy.  We need to understand what support there may be for local news – re-use of digital switchover money – BBC won’t get it anyway.

13:02 Training opportunities are key to the Government’s approach to Digital Britain – society wins and so do individuals who will be trained.

Culture is not a ‘luxury add-on’ – they contribute to the economy £1 spent of culture comes back as £5 in economic contribution

Now moving over to Q&A

Colin Tweedie – Governor of University of the Creative Arts.  Vitality of the creative universities – they are worried by the potential cuts.
Q re product development and merging the Film Council and Games Council.
Q from Gary Townsend from Skillset.  Future jobs in creative industries; need to think of supply of new talent but what about CPD for the existing workforce?

Sawyer says that the more ‘modern’ universities will demonstrate their value over time.  A law degree from Oxford is one thing but it’s a bit of a stereotype – so dpn’t worry.  Quality will out.
Bradshaw says that Universities will continue to be funded and they are capable of identifying the courses needed.  New skills will come through – media studies not as ‘airy fairy’ as they used to be.
13:12 PB says training of ‘high-level’ graduates (not apprentices).  HEFCE’s in meltdown and meanwhile Skillset is being cut.

Q re ‘cutting off’ illegal file-sharing from a woman from Ofcom – hierarchy of sanctions
Q from a writer and producer (Carol Haymann?)  re rights deals on digital broadcasts

13:15 Bradshaw – hierarchy of sanctions will come into force needs to be funded by rights holders.  PB says “it will never work unless we do a ‘nudge’ at the same time”.

Bradshaw says it’s an education job as well.  Wilson says pirated games are running at 3 pirate copies per 1 gane sold in some cases.

Broadcasters need to be held accountable says Carol Haymann (radio producer and writer).  We generate little money from repeats on BBC7 for example.
13:20 Sophie Jones from Channel 4.  About C4’s role – Digital Britain is ‘bang-on’ about the importance of C4 public ownership to preserve support of new digital companies.
Nick Hull from 118118 – we’ve spent years trying to offer services at a reasonable price over mobile and have failed.  How can creative producers do that?
Wilson asked to comment on 118118 question.  A lot of games businesses would like to ‘self-publish’; broadly optimistic about business models for content suppliers.
PB mentions Moor’s Law.  But there’s “Less’ Law” – which is that as content proliferates lower revenues result.
Sawyer says ‘free model’ will kill newspapers.
Bradshaw sums up – the market cannot guarantee all – BBC is a good thing but it needs to be more sensitive and recognise its effect on the whole media landscape.  BBC governance structure doesn’t work.  Much private sector activity benefits from the economies of scale of the BBC.  But we need to re-assert the legitimacy of the BBC ‘with every generation’.


Metaphor and Strategy in Digital Britain

metaphorsThe use of metaphor in strategy and business and in the media is widespread and often annoying.  Narrative is used to illustrate choices and “It’s been a long journey” is regularly heard from both reality TV participants and news media people who ought to know better.  But there are many more forms of narrative than the journey story – and richer archetypes we could think about.

But maybe we could recast or re-interpret some of these metaphors to help see problems in a ‘new light’.  There, you see; I’m doing it now.  What if we could ‘think our way off the Pendulum’ of boom and bust?  How about ‘painting ourselves Out of the Box’?  And how about making the ‘Playing Field’ more mountainous for players with too much market power?  What if we could harness our knowledge of systems dynamics so that things spiral into control.

And then we come to the Patchwork Quilt analogy I came up with as one of the scenarios for Digital Britain.  The industry seems to want to interpret the Patchwork Quilt as a ‘bad thing’.  Actually it’s a good thing because it’s a manifestation of the coming wave of localism.  Design your own patch of Digital Britain to respond to local conditions and make sure, though, at the edges it joins up with the other patches.

So, the next time you hear a metaphor being used to describe strategy or choices; generate the anti-metaphor in your mind and see where it takes you.