There are two aspects to creative products. Physically, they are usually simple: a reel of film, a CD, a computer disk, a sheet of printed paper. But their value lies in their content, in their meaning, or what they represent. The content could be a film, a story, a photograph, a game or a pop song, and it might be entertaining or persuasive or informative or attractive. It is this information that has value, not the physical object that carries it.
Because creative products are information-based, the rapid advance of digital technologies and the globalisation of communications networks have made the creative sector one of the fastest-growing in the world. Many of today’s most successful companies are broadcasters, publishers, entertainers and games designers, and they are growing fast. In the world’s advanced economies these sectors are showing annual growth rates between 5 and 20%.
The creative industry ecology is one of whales and plankton: a handful of high-profile global players, stars and multinational companies, dependent upon vast shoals of project-based micro-enterprises. From the surface, only the bigger players are visible, but these big fish are wholly dependent on the small fry further along the supply chain. New value is created in this sector when technical innovation, artistic creativity and business entrepreneurship are deployed together to make and distribute a new cultural product.