New analysis shows creative digital exports worth £21bn

March 13, 2018

The UK’s creative exports are worth £21bn, according to new research on the value of digital trade. This means creative digital exports could be £6bn higher than the previous estimates.

Other findings include:

  • creative industries export £46bn in goods and services, up by nearly £10bn

  • £31bn of total creative exports are services, up from £22bn

From BBC’s Blue Planet to the Tom Clancy video games, our British creative exports are recognised across the globe and give the UK invaluable soft power.

Previous estimates have not been able to capture the full extent of the UK’s digital trade, including: musical artists gaining financial value from YouTube views of their music around the world, and designers and developers reaping the rewards of online game downloads.

This research was undertaken by the Creative Industries Federation and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), sponsored by the Creative Industries Council (CIC) and supported by the Department for International Trade. It includes contributions from creative businesses and members of the Federation and CIC from across the UK.

Nicola Mendelsohn, chair of the Creative Industries Council said: “This report demonstrates that all sectors of the UK’s creative industries are using the opportunities that digital technology provides to increase their sales , innovate and reach new audiences who are hungry for UK products and services.”

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie said: “The UK’s games businesses are natural exporters, selling world class interactive entertainment to a digitally connected, global market at the click of a button. With an ever growing audience that is already in excess of 2 billion people playing games in counties all round the world, and British businesses pushing the boundaries of technology and creativity to create ever more exciting content, the opportunities for the UK games sector to further grow its share of exports are huge.”

Alina Dimofte, public policy and government relations manager of Google said: “Online, anyone from the BBC to street buskers like Hannah Trigwell who got a No1 hit in Vietnam from her Leeds studio, can connect to new audiences across the world. On YouTube, the UK is already one of the biggest content exporters with 78% of all views on videos uploaded in the UK being watched by users in a different country. Similarly, game developers or createch entrepreneurs have their apps available for the whole world by just publishing them on an app store.”

David Dunn, CEO of Sunderland Software City said: “Every digital SME is now instantly international – they can sell to foreign customers immediately – which, in turn, enables the growth of local opportunities. I think sometimes people overlook creative and digital products when talking about exports, focusing instead on physical items. The UK export market is much larger than usually stated. Sunderland Software City is enabling the growth of the technology sector in the North East of England by providing support to strengthen the region’s economy, help individual companies to grow, create jobs and attract investment."

John Kampfner, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation said: “Digital is the future and the creative industries are leading the way. And, while the scale may be international, the impact is local. Last year creative jobs grew by 25% in Yorkshire and the West Midlands, with regional economies, from Scotland to the West Midlands all growing faster than London.”

Click here to download the full report.

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