I went to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts website and perused the Digital Content Industry Action Agenda document from November last year, in preparation for the panel thingie coming up soon. Why do people .pdf things when I need them .rss? However, ’tis but a minor quibble. And don’t get excited when you see the term Unlocking the Potential Forum. They don’t mean a forum as in an online community discussing and debating the paper with all the stakeholders, interested parties and (me) stickybeaks having a good chat. They mean a panel forum – the Sydney one is at the Museum of Sydney, 4th July in the afternoon. You better go register.

Some interesting goodies for you (in case you don’t want to read 87 pages and then go to the panel to discuss this stuff). If I knew of a way to change the URL to link directly to the anchor/page in a .pdf I’d do that for you. But I don’t. So I won’t. Heh.

Page 8: The Digital Content Industry encompasses the production and marketing of film and television programs in the form of digital and interactive TV; online games; re-usable electronic education content; the marketing and supply of the holdings of museums, galleries and libraries in digital form; the Internet-based publishing of music, text, films and games; and the development and marketing of software, games, and online services that create digital media and visual effects, or help to manage and publish them. Mobile delivery and content is becoming increasingly important.

have a look at these figures. *whistles*

The Australian Digital Content Industry is estimated to produce output worth $21 billion, almost 3.5 per cent of Australia’s GDP (compared with the UK and US, where GDP shares are conservatively estimated at 5 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively) and employs about 300,000 people.

Globally, the media and entertainment sectors have been forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 7.3 per cent, from $1.8 trillion in 2005 to more than $2.4 trillion by 2009. Many of these sectors are driven by digital content already, such as the Internet, games, and business information. Recorded music and television are moving to the digital phase rapidly. By comparison, in Australia, if policy settings are left unchanged, the digital content industries are projected to grow by no more than a modest annual rate of 3.8 per cent ($18 billion in 2003–04 to $29 billion by 2014–15) or even to regress in the face of global competition.

However, nary a word on user generated content (yes I know we prefer people creating stuff, but y’know what it means). Nothing on citizen journalism, viral marketing, blogs, user created videos and fotos and films and advertising and peer2peer marketing. I know because I did a search.
I did look up the intellectual property section. So very critical in the Digital Content space. There was a paragraph on Creative Commons. Yay!

Alternative licensing approaches to IP, such as Creative Commons, provide information, tools and tutorials to help in publishing work online.

BTW I added the CC link, the document doesn’t have them. Shame really, there’s a nice list and summary of the Digital Content agenda’s for other countries, like New Zealand, Korea, Singapore and so on (Page 31). If they had linked to them, well, I could quite happily read such documents all night. Am I strange?

When I read Industry Action Agendas like this I start to wonder. Am I on the wrong track? If Government document on digital content named ‘Unlocking the Potential’ fails to even mention user generated content and the impact that is having and will have on the Digital Content industry, perhaps I have the wrong end of the stick? If 150 key organisations and industry leaders don’t see fit to note the number of people creating stuff, the change in marketing strategies of major companies like Ford, the reduced numbers going to the movies, 30 odd million blogs tagged at technorati, 70 million users at myspace.com, perhaps I AM reading the tea leaves wrong?

Nah.

Go look at New Zealand’s digital strategy partnership fund. They’ve got 100k plus per project for community stuff. Can you see an online community with some user generated content thrown in, in this lot?

The Fund will favour projects that can grow and link with others around New Zealand with ideas for:
– smart use of ICT in communities smart ways to increase confidence in using computers
– smart ways to increase ICT skills
– smart ways to digitise and link content and use applications across communities and New Zealand
– smart planning for sustainability at the end of the funding

Go look at the BBC’s recently announced Creative Future strategy (my bloglet here). That was created in response to the UK government’s digital strategy.

…turn the BBC’s public purposes laid out in the recent Government White Paper into quality content for the on-demand world.

Increasingly, audiences of all ages not only want the choice of what to watch and listen to when they want, they also expect to take part, debate, create and control – as partners with the BBC and in their own communities – real or virtual.

So maybe I am reading the report wrong, and the user generated stuff is in there, but hidden?

The industry covers a wide span of diverse sectors. Australia’s Digital Content Industry comprises three sectors: core production (41 per cent), embedded production (51 per cent) and distribution (9 per cent).

The core production sector of the industry involves the creation of digital content by firms and individuals in the creative industries.

However, the industry also includes the creation of digital content, using creative skills, within the wider professional service industries (i.e. embedded production). Examples include the creation of web pages and advertising material in-house by a law firm or an educational institution, the production of training programs using games technology in Defence, or the use of visualisation data in mining or architecture.

Finally, a large amount of digital content activity occurs in the key area of distribution, where value is added by circulating, transmitting or exhibiting digital content.

So from this I gather that the focus is still on traditional mainstream media creators. Ah yes, here it is, the punchline.

The industry is significant, both in its own right, and for its impact in wider
industries. While it is characterised by a plethora of micro firms and sectors, there is a need to achieve critical mass to maximise its potential impact.

Good luck to them. My italics by the way.

I’m tired now, I’ll post more tomorrow. Like, what my digital content agenda would look like (not to grow the content development sector but to save it. Heh.) Like, how the Centre for Economic thingummy got the embedded/distribution figures methodology wrong. Why short films are taking off big time and Aussie Cane-Toad is leading the way (read bloglet). I’ve got to fix grammatical and spelling gremlins. And tags, I must remember to technorati this. also add to the To Do list – look up UK Gov white paper, and research NZ one more. Plus Singapore, they do this stuff so well. Oh and I need to think about the implications of “1.4 Recognising digital content as a general purpose technology for the 21st century” (page 17), cos maybe they mean user gen content. That’s a lot to think about. Ah well, don’t create a blog, too much like hard work. Let someone else create the content.

‘night.

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