Several newspapers and periodicals may not be able to survive due to the significant decline in subsidies.
4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes
Although there is no official definition of cultural industries in Italy, what is generally understood under this term are those cultural goods and services which can be "technically reproduced" (Walter Benjamin), or "industrially produced and commercially sold" (Edgar Morin): books, the press, radio- television, cinema, recorded music, and the new media.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that the enlarged term creative industries - extended to other highly creative contiguous industrial sectors, like fashion, gastronomy, advertising…- has not been in common use in Italy, as it has been in the Anglo Saxon world, until recently. Only in 2007, an ad hoc Study Commission was entrusted by the Minister for Heritage, Rutelli, to elaborate a report on the issue of "creativity and cultural production in Italy". The report Libro bianco sulla creatività. Per un modello italiano di sviluppo, edited by the cultural economist Walter Santagata – an extensive survey on the issue of "creative industries" in Italy, completed with proposals for action (see chapter 9.1) – was published in 2009.
For the Italian cultural industries as understood under the above mentioned more limited and traditional meaning, the 1990s had been a problematic and challenging period: compared with the then positive economic and financial trends in the heritage field and in artistic and cultural activities, the development trend in the cultural industries lagged behind (Rapporto sull' economia della cultura in Italia 1990-2000). The situation got even worst in the 2000s, when overall stagnation in household expenditure was matched first by a slower growth, and later by a drop in advertising.
The decline in the available financial resources especially affected the press: an industry heavily dependent on state subsidies in Italy, according to legislation adopted since 1981 (see chapter 5.3.7). As Italians, since then, read and buy less and less newspapers (112 paying copies for every 1000 inhabitants in 2007, well below the European average…), a loss of about 26% in income from sales between 2004 and 2008 could not be compensated by the declining advertising income, in a country where most of the financial revenue from advertising is drawn by television. This obvious situation of market failure resulted in increased state support for the press from 439 million EUR in 2000, to a peak of 506 million in 2007 (+15%).
More recently, though, state subsidies to the press were heavily affected by the financial constraints brought about by the financial crisis: so much so that they progressively fell to 377 million EUR in 2009 and were halved to 188 million EUR in 2010, with a further decrease to 150 million EUR in 2011: little more than one third of the subsidies granted in 2007. Forecasted allocation for 2018 is 118 million EUR, and future prospects – linked to a reform of the state subsidy system to the press from 2014 on (see chapter 5.3.7) – are so bad for a publishing industry already under strain, that several newspapers and periodicals may not be able to survive.
In contrast, the Italian film industry – which had also suffered a negative downturn around the mid-1990s, when the yearly production of films fell from more than 200 in the 1970s to the unprecedented low level of only 77 films in 1995 – has fared much better in the 2000s. Such progress was initially due to the belated implementation of an important regulatory measure, Law 122/1996, which provided for reallocation of part of the financial resources collected by major television companies - no less than 20% of license fee revenues for RAI, or 10% of advertising revenues for national commercial networks (Mediaset) – to the production and acquisition of Italian and European films and audiovisual programmes. Later on, Italian film production has further benefited from innovative fiscal measures such as tax credits and tax shelters set up following the 2009 legislation (see chapter 5.3.6). Notwithstanding decreasing direct state contributions, these measures, fostering indirect support to the cinema industry, have given a strong boost to new production of films and TV programmes, thus providing a stimulus for a new generation of film makers (Sorrentino, Garrone, etc.) as well as actors.
Whereas all the indicators for 2010 were surprisingly positive, though, the situation seems to be much less clear-cut for 2011, with data characterised by significant ups and downs. According to ANICA (the Italian Association of Cinema Industries), the production of films went up, with 155 Italian films produced (13 more than in 2010), and 333 million EUR invested (an increase of 20% with respect to the previous year). 96 of these were stemming from the state: more precisely 28 million from direct, and many more, 68 million, from indirect contributions from the tax shelters. Less positive news is coming, though, from the demand side, with only 101 000 tickets sold (-8% compared with the previous year) and, even worse, a decrease of 10% in the box office income (from 734 to 662 million EUR).
On the other hand, the participation index in film performances for 2011 was the highest ever reached: 54% (see chapter 8.2.1). Which means that, even if fewer tickets were sold, in these times of crisis there has been an increase in cinema attendance.
Specific professional training programmes available in Italy in the field of the cultural industries are still high, although more and more are closing down as a consequence of an oversupply in university courses in recent years. The gap between the number of professionals trained in the dozen university faculties in "communications" (the most well-known being Roma La Sapienza and Bocconi in Milan) and in the numerous master degrees in journalism, audiovisual professions, media economics and management, on the one hand, and the amount of jobs made available for these professions, on the other, is such that these courses are sometimes named "a factory for unemployment".