Monday, February 13, 2012

Action Plan For Jobs - Film?

The government has published its action plan for jobs today. I suspected there might be some mention of film, given the intensifying culture=jobs discourse of the last few years.

Towards the back of the annex that sets out Department and Agency responsibility for job creation you will find the following -

Nothing new here, if you've read the Creative Capital report which I had a bit of a go at some months back.

If the intention is to grow cultural exports in this area, what is the base level from which growth will be calculated?

I have seen no figures for the annual value of Irish film and television exports. The usual annual level of recoupment of Film Board loans would suggest that export earnings are minimal.

The figure for additional, non-voted IFB income in 2012 is projected to be €500,000 which, I presume, is the total expected recoupment/share of income in 2012 from all IFB production investments over the last twenty years.

As for the two other proposals, they read like a collection of buzz words and don't strike me as being particularly relevant to the Film Board's remit. Perhaps I'm wrong?


Anonymous said...

Well third point there is pretty bizarre - so the IFB is to somehow be responsible for using existing data centres and other cloud computing infrastructure (who owns these?)to build distribution channels for our content industries. It certainly would be a new string in the IFB's bow, although there is little evidence of any in-house expertise in this area. More consultants will have to be hired, who will no doubt test the feasibility of (re)building our own VOD/Streaming channels or other digital delivery systems (as opposed to using existing channels and systems). One would almost write the conclusions already.

irish film portal said...

I would have thought that the lessons of the call centre and computing hardware industries were all too obvious for the cloud computing sector.

Data centres and server farms will be highly mobile once initial incentives run their course. When you factor in probable future technological and infrastructural developments it will likely become a highly competitive globalised market particularly susceptible to local energy and network costs.

On the content side of things there probably is a benefit in hyping the country as a low-tax corporate base for intellectual property management by multi-nationals. However, I thought that had already been tried, and has been successful in a limited way. And these days other countries are very likely to call 'foul' if their industries move 'offshore'

I'm guessing too that the model may not work for the companies with massive back-catalogues because they have enormous physical storage and preservation costs associated with their libraries (in fixed locations) which they can always write off locally against their IP income.

If the digital content industries being referred to include music and gaming the proposal seems well beyond the IFB's remit and its 'leveraging' capacity.

nada said...

I really don't think that third point merits attention. It follows in a long tradition of vague blather from the 'strategists' (GHU) of the 'sector' (GHU).

I even feel a touch of nostalgia for the 'digital platforms' of the late 90s. That emperor's new clothes scenario, with everybody afraid to admit they hadn't a clue what the term meant and how it could help.

And in this context it is in nobody's interests (neither the supposed job creators nor the film sector strategists) to tell the less impressive-sounding and more prosaic truth.

GHU= godhelpus