The creative industries are indispensable for Finland’s economic growth, employment and the development of society as a whole. This is the message that we have been putting forward in our messages to decision-makers and consultations in the government formation talks.
“It takes a large number of works and authors for one of them to rise to commercial success. It is not possible to predict in advance which work or author will be successful. Success is a by-product of mass – that is why every work is important,” says our Director Ulla Simonen.
The creative industries’ share of Finland’s GDP, 3.1%, is higher than the shares of agriculture or the paper industry, for example. However, there is still a lot of catching up to be done compared to our peer countries, as copyright-based industries account for 4.4% of GDP on average in the EU. Therefore, we must together aim higher to reap the significant growth and export potential of the creative industries.
We believe that the following measures are necessary to promote the growth of the arts and cultural industries that we support, and of the Finnish creative economy in general:
- Maintain the statutory compensation for private copying at the current level of EUR 11 million.
- Restore the funding of product development and service innovations in creative industries and digital content (DigiDemo, CreaDemo and CreMa support) to the 2020 level.
- Expand the funding base for domestic audiovisual productions. Introduce an obligation for media service providers to contribute to the financing of European content produced in Finland, as made possible by the AVMS Directive. The implementation of the Directive into national legislation will potentially bring EUR 14 million in new money for the growth of the audiovisual industry.
Copyright funds as a basis for the vitality of the domestic audiovisual industry
The funding we provide is an investment in the creation of new works. At the same time, it brings more people into the industry, ensures the continuity of their work, provides continuing education and internationalisation, and enables the organisation of events and festivals. Our grants generate tax revenue and export income and increase the potential of supported projects to obtain both domestic and international funding.
The cornerstone of our activities is the compensation for private copying. This is the copyright remuneration required by law to allow citizens to copy works for private use. Maintaining the level of this compensation at the current level of EUR 11 million, as set out in the current General Government Fiscal Plan, is very important for the effectiveness and continuity of AVEK’s activities and thus for maintaining the vitality of the entire audiovisual industry.
We operate as part of the copyright organisation Kopiosto. In the audiovisual industry, Kopiosto pays copyright remunerations directly to the individual authors of television programmes, while AVEK has been distributing indirect remunerations in the form of grants to authors since 1987.
“Support granted by AVEK is for the authors by the authors: Those who have accumulated funds, meaning authors whose works have been copied for private use, further new talent and productions with the support. In this way, they contribute to the growth and success of the industry,” says Simonen.
Demo support promotes innovative product development and employment opportunities for companies
Our DigiDemo, CreaDemo and CreMa grants for product development and service innovation in the creative industries and digital content have been uniquely beneficial in promoting product development. According to our survey, nearly 80% of the supported companies were able to take the product they developed all the way to manufacturing. Typically, a good completion rate for progressing from research, development and innovation to a product is considered to be 10–15%.
Our demo grants have been found to be particularly effective in promoting early-stage business and product innovation across a wide range of creative industries. The support increases the company’s capacity to promote both product development and employment.
A report by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on business support in the creative industries from February states that the creative industry demo grants distributed by AVEK are of particular importance. They work for the very specific production models of the creative industries, for which instruments such as those of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s own Business Finland and the ELY Centres are not suitable.
“The creative industries are the forerunners of multidisciplinary activities. From the perspective of traditional, compartmentalised financial thinking, this can be a problem. The support structures need to recognise the pioneering work of artists so that new ideas and opportunities can be productised. At AVEK, we have been at the forefront of digitalisation, the first to support works and products made with XR technologies, and now we are trying to look into the opportunities offered by AI and Web 3.0,” says Simonen.
We have been distributing demo grants to the creative industries at the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Culture since 2003. Until 2020, the annual appropriation totalled EUR 1.35 million, but from 2021 onwards it has been down to EUR 695,000. However, the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Department for Art and Cultural Policy proposed a return to the 2020 level for the demo appropriation in the Government Programme.
Expanding the funding base for domestic audiovisual productions would support growth in the industry
In the challenging economic situation, we are in favour of expanding the funding base for domestic audiovisual productions. One solution for this is the obligation for media service providers to contribute to the financing of European content produced in Finland, made possible by the AVMS Directive.
Depending on the method of implementation, this obligation and the resulting reform will generate an estimated EUR 5–14 million per year for domestic audiovisual productions. The impact of these funds on employment and the recovery of the industry after the pandemic would be significant.
“The obligation has already been introduced in 14 countries in Europe. If we were to miss this opportunity, we would be giving a completely unnecessary competitive advantage to other countries’ audiovisual productions,” Simonen points out.
We will be happy to participate in developing the solution and bringing the combined expertise of Kopiosto and AVEK to benefit the entire audiovisual industry.