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c&binet forum - summary of discussions from the first morning

C&binet | 27 Oct 2009, 13:39

A call to unleash the full extent of Europe’s creative potential ended this morning’s session – one that began by addressing as unproductive the ‘deafness and shouting’ around piracy that has dominated discussion up to now.

Creative Industries minister Siôn Simon, Dame Gail Rebuck of Random House and Chris Clarke of Sapient Nitro debated the shades of grey between the polarised opinion, with a consensus emerging on the necessity of moving forward on a range of fronts – new business models, acceptance of consumer’s mindsets, and proportionate action to protect rights holders.


Vivendi’s Jean-Bernard Levy, interviewed by Amanda Andrews, set out how his company is successfully straddling the content production and distribution worlds, declared the album not dead and dropped a teaser for things to come – gaming guitar heroes exchanging virtual axes for virtual decks with DJ Hero.


Wired’s David Rowan then drew out visions for the near future from the Creative Infrastructure panel – all-seeing, all-knowing TV that responds like a Wii, protective walls around creative businesses coming crashing down, and sexed-up meta data.


The rights issue returned, with Ashley Highfield contrasting the easy march of technological progress against the complexity of liberating content for future exploitation. That before David Rowan asked if piracy isn’t dead in the face of the opportunities opening up for creative leaders prepared to take risks and sail into choppy waters.

As a curtain-raiser for Lord Mandelson’s speech tomorrow, intellectual property minister David Lammy had a dream of a clear, fair and reasonable future where ‘freedom of access is not the same as access for free.’

Odile Quintin, the EU Director General for Education and Culture closed this morning’s session with a call for greater partnerships between the creative industries and educators to unleash the full extent of Europe’s creative potential.


The response so far to the event from the online community has been tremendous, with #cabinetforum trending at one point during the session.

Many thanks. Stay with us for Elio Leoni-Scetifrom EMI Music restarting proceedings before discussions on Free Content and Scale, Risk and Investment.

C&binet forum opening night discussion roundup

Andrew | 26 Oct 2009, 20:47

C&binet forum 2009 opened with a discussion led by Newsweek’s Stryker McGuire, who interviewed a panel consisting of Secretary of State Ben Bradshaw MP, Wired UK editor David Rowan and c&binet ambassador Professor Phil Redmond about the state of the creative economy.


The Secretary of State revealed that the growth of the UK’s creative economy endured the recession, despite some of the problems caused by a shrinking advertising market and defended the role of government spending on culture, arguing that a £1 investment by the DCMS delivers a £5 return in terms of economic activity stimulated. David Rowan echoed this positive outlook by arguing that the UK punches above his weight in every area of the creative sector but he suggested that SMEs have too little access to government (something that c&binet can play a role in remedying), which was a theme he carried through to his presentation of the Creative Economy in 2010 exhibition. Rowan also pointed out that copyright issues were not the only issue which government needs to address, referring to the risk of creative brain drain and arguing that the industry needed to move on from discussions about copyright. The Secretary of State replied that it was only possible to move on once some sort of solution had been reached.

Phil Redmond argued that the digital age represents a unique opportunity for creatives to engage with their consumers directly, which he believes every creative business person is excited about. He also tried to put the current disruption in an historical context, suggesting that the media industry had always struggled against restrictive practices and regulatory regimes. David Rowan said the recent use of Twitter to overturn legal injunctions against the Guardian newspaper’s attempts to report Parliamentary questions showed that technology couldn’t be tamed. The same would hold true for the copyright challenge, he said. Stryker McGuire concluded by speaking up for the performance of Britain’s creative entrepreneurs, who he said had exploded the myth that Britain doesn’t do entrepreneurialism.

Following on from the opening discussion was a debate on illegal file sharing, moderated by Tim Suter
This was not a panel of extreme views.  It was a discussion that started with a universal belief that artists should receive re-numeration for their content. The point was made that the genie was out of the bottle and that technical measures could only ever amount to “speed bumps” in the fight against illegal filesharing.  There was some recognition of this with panelists seeing technical measures as the legislative backdrop which would encourage consumers to move back towards rewarding creators for their products.  ISPs had a role to play in this, working with the industry to develop new business models and then encouraging users to take advantage of them.  There was though a view that many of those that illegally fileshared did so because they saw a rich and indulgent content industry that did not need the extra money that their legal purchase would provide.  The music industry in particular needed to better connect with their consumers to show that illegal filesharing did real harm to up and coming artists.

Clare Reddington, who’s talking at c&binet on Wednesday, has written about the first day on her blog.

What can c&binet achieve?

Andrew | 24 Aug 2009, 14:01

C&binet comment: Siôn Simon, Minister for Creative Industries


What is the point of c&binet?

That is the one of the first questions I put to DCMS civil servants when I was appointed Minister for the Creative Industries in June.

There was a commitment in Creative Britain to develop a World Creative Business Conference as ‘a platform for leaders in the creative and financial sectors to develop a deeper engagement and dialogue’.

Which is great.  But what does it mean?

There is no point in bringing together the best creative people from around the world - in person and online - with just the hope that serendipitous discoveries emerge from the craic.

The c&binet Ambassadors are big players in the sector. The cast list for the forum in October is already looking impressive.

But we still need to be going into the conference prepared to extract from them real value in terms of their thinking on growth and investment in the creative sector globally, and greater reward for creative talent and entrepreneurship.

In the run up to the forum I want to use this space to help define what it is that you in the creative industries want to see happen as a result of the c&binet forum.

The copyright debate rages on. What actually is the best course of action for industry? For governments? For emerging web entrepreneurs?

What is needed to get cash flowing into creative businesses, to attract and sustain investment?

When advertising doesn’t work, what business models do?

What exactly do businesses need to do more of to harness skills and nurture talent - and what should we agree to do less?

What should governments do? If anything?

The point of c&binet is to make progress, to shape change. So let’s get on with it.

C&binet Ambassadors ranked in MediaGuardian 100

Valerie | 14 Jul 2009, 08:14

The Guardian has published its annual rankings of the most powerful people in the media, digital and entertainment businesses, based on their cultural, economic and political influence in the UK.

The 2009 MediaGuardian 100 reveals that amidst the current economic downturn which has seen unprecedented upheaval over the past year, Google’s co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have held onto the top spot for the second consecutive year, confirming its position as the world’s most powerful media brand.

There was also good news for c&binet ambassadors including the chairman and chief executive of Universal Music, Lucian Grainge (33), Channel 4 chief executive, Andy Duncan (24) and Nicholas Coleridge of Conde Nast (58) who all maintained their places in the top 100. 

The list also includes a number of key advisors to c&binet, including Patrick McKenna, chief executive of Ingenious Media Group (36),  John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide (31) and BBC director general Mark Thompson (2).

2009 also sees new Culture Minster Ben Bradshaw debut in the list, who the Guardian notes is “perfectly placed at number 50” but could be “one of next year’s biggest risers”.

Other prominent new entries this year include Jason Kilar, the chief executive of the US video-on-demand website Hulu (19); Daniel Ek, the co-founder of the music website Spotify and advertising guru Rory Sutherland (32).

But despite the dominance of digital brands in previous years, the addition of News International’s new CEO, Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade) and Will Lewis, the Telegraph titles’ editor-in-chief who broke into the top 10 this year signals that traditional media is not to be written off yet.

The evolving digital landscape and its implications for the future of the content industries will be a key theme for the c&binet forum in October, which will see creative business leaders address IP challenges, the development of new business models and future creative cash flow set against a backdrop of the economic downturn.


Digital Britain Report: Building Britain’s Digital Future

Valerie | 16 Jun 2009, 17:03

The UK Government has today published its action plan for ensuring that the UK is at the leading edge of the global digital economy.  The Digital Britain Whitepaper sets out the importance of the Digital Economy to the nation’s economic future, and how it will drive future industrial capability and competitiveness.

Although many of the headlines focused on universal broadband access, the creative industries made up a considerable proportion of the Digital Britain report, published earlier today. There were four key issues addressed in chapter 4 – Creative Industries in the Digital World - namely:

Recognition of the economic importance of the UK’s creative industries

–  “We need… a commitment to the creative industries grounded in the belief that they can be scaled and industrialised in the same way as other successful hi-technology,  knowledge industries such as bio-sciences have been”

The importance of protecting and rewarding creativity in the digital world, meeting the mutual interests of creators, aggregators, distributors and consumers

–  The Government’s objective is to see the creation of an effective online download and streaming market of scale, providing content that is highly affordable, easily and conveniently accessible to consumers

–  Digital Britain proposes an equitable framework to bring content-creators, rights-holders, aggregators, distributors and consumers together to create workable and effective online download markets of scale

Extending public policy framework to embrace interactive content

–  Government consultation to give Ofcom a duty to police unlawful file sharing through notification of unlawful activity and for repeat infringers, a court based process of identify release and civil action

–  Bolstering action against illegal file sharers through technical measures, specified in legislation, and could include Blocking (Site, IP, URL); Protocol blocking,  Port blocking and Bandwidth capping

–  If voluntary action does not reduce illegal file sharing after 12 months, Ofcom should use its backstop powers to introduce these additional measures

Ensuring that existing interventions are digital ready

–  Government acknowledgement that the scope for modernisation of the current UK copyright framework is “heavily constrained within the EU copyright framework”, with “further work that remains to be done”

The full Digital Britain report is available online and further details can be found on the latest news and publication page of the DCMS website.

You can also follow additional commentary on the Digital Britain Forum, Twitter feed and here on the c&binet blog where, over the coming days, we will be looking in more detail at what the measures outlined in the report mean for the Creative Industries.

Creative Industries take centre stage in UK recession recovery and future prosperity

Valerie | 15 May 2009, 12:30

Feargal Sharkey (right) and Andy Burnham at the Knotty Ash Youth Centre, Liverpool
(Image reproduced by kind permission from the  Liverpool Daily Post)

In recognition of the economic and social power of the UK’s burgeoning creative industries – a subject which c&binet regularly explores on this blog – the Government announced plans this week to create between five and ten thousand new jobs for young people in the culture and creative industries sectors, highlighting the significant role they play in achieving economic recovery and future prosperity.

‘Lifting People Lifting Places’ outlines the Government‘s priorities for the Department for Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS), its partners across the cultural and sports world and in local government for the new economy to demonstrate the positive contribution that creative sectors can make in difficult times to people’s lives and the places in which they live.

Outlining the Government’s vision for how culture, media and sport can play a part in helping the economy recover, Andy Burnham said:

“Rather than sitting on the fringes, culture, sport and the creative industries are part of the core script for recovery and future prosperity…

“As a decade of record investment has helped our cultural and sporting institutions to be the best they can be – better placed not just to help solve the problems of the downturn, but to make a more significant contribution to the new economy that emerges, providing more jobs and generating more income.”

Under the plans laid out by Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, local councils, third sector groups, arts organisations and creative industry bodies will be able to bid for Government funding for new, innovative jobs as part of the £1.1bn Future Jobs Fund announced in the Budget last month.

UK Music has already has been working with the Government to explore how the creative industries can help get young people into work and they plan to develop a pathfinder project, working with Jobcentre Plus to offer up to 200 jobs to young unemployed people around this summer’s music festivals.

Alongside this and following the recent announcement from communities secretary Hazel Blears and Andy Burnham of a £3m fund to breathe new life into local communities through the use of vacant shops by musicians and other creative industries, the music industry and Government also this week launched UK Music’s new rehearsal rooms at the Knotty Ash Youth Centre in Liverpool. Aspiring musicians and bands will benefit from the first professionally equipped, Government funded music rehearsal space, with five other spaces due to opened in the coming months, in Bristol, Washington, Hastings, St Austell and rural Norfolk.

These initiatives mark the first time the Government and the cultural sectors have come together in a joint effort to ensure that this generation of young people looking for work opportunities are supported via a full programme of support which includes jobs, mentoring and skills development.

By investing now – in cultural, creative and sports-related jobs and training for young people, in regeneration projects for our communities, and in new cultural and sporting opportunities for everyone – the Government is nurturing creative talent and resources for the new economy that will emerge in a highly connected, fully digital world.


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