4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture
In order to deal with the Spanish economic crisis the Socialist government implemented the National Reform Programme 2011 as part of the EU's new growth strategy, Europe 2020. The government's reform agenda for 2011 included, inter alia, advancing in the Strategy 2011-2015 of the Plan Avanza 2, adopted in July 2010, and in a new Telecommunications Act. The Plan Avanza 2 seeks to place Spain in a position of leadership in the development and use of advanced ICT products and also services. The new Act, which will strengthen coordination between different levels of government, is aimed at encouraging a more efficient and flexible use of the radio spectrum and improving the protection of users. The new government that emerged from the 2011 elections continues, as a strategy to get out of the crisis, with the Plan Avanza 2.
According to the Survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Households 2012, 67.9% of Spanish households have access to the Internet, in comparison to 63.9% in 2011. 10.5 million households have access to the Internet, which represents an increase of more than 600 000 households in one year. Broadband Internet connections are available in 66.7% of households (nearly 10.4 million households), which represents an increase of approximately 700 000 homes over the previous year. Madrid (78.0%) and the Balearic Islands (73.9%) have the highest percentage of households with access to the Internet. Frequent users (those who connect to the network daily or at least once a week) account for approximately 65% of the population, which means that the inter-annual growth stood at 4.9%.
Nonetheless, some challenges remain to be addressed:
One of the strictly cultural projects undertaken by the current Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in this field, within the Plan for the Promotion of the Cultural and Creative Industries 2011, is the digitisation of cultural content, thus the establishment of aids to promote and increase the legal supply of cultural content on the Internet. The General Strategic Plan 2012-2015 of the State Secretary for Culture also includes as one of its main objectives to facilitate creation, innovation and knowledge production, as well as to promote culture on the Internet, safeguarding the rights derived from intellectual property.
In the cinematographic sector, in September 2010, the first meeting of the Working Group created to address the transition to digital cinema exhibition in Spain was held, composed of the autonomous communities and the Ministry of Culture, through the National Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA) and the Directorate-General for Cultural Industries and Policy. Among the agreements reached include: public participation in the process of digitisation of cinemas; the study of a specific model of intervention in this process that includes public (state and regional) financial participation, and the improvement of communication between regions and the ICAA. With the aim of supporting the digitisation of cinemas, at the end of 2012, the ICAA, in collaboration with the Official Credit Institute, launched a new line of funding through which companies can access credits with a subsidised interest rate, which is assumed by the ICAA (see also chapter 4.2.3).
In June 2011, with the aim of supporting the legal supply of cultural content on the internet, the Ministry of Culture presented the Label Cultura en Positivo (Culture in Positive) which aims to identify companies and institutions in the fields of music, films, books, visual arts and video games that provide digital content, either paid or free, that respect intellectual property rights. This initiative is part of an awareness campaign, which includes the microsite http://www.culturaenpositivo.es and a series of online advertising spots aiming to reduce the high levels of piracy in Spain. More recently, the government has launched a new version of the portal Filmotech.com., as a new model for commercialising cultural products. With this initiative the government seeks to take full advantage of digital realities in creating new economic and social models and disseminating cultural products.
Important initiatives for artists working with new technologies are:
Finally, there are two outstanding initiatives to support creators and artists working with new technologies. On the one hand, Hangar is a centre for arts production and research, set up by the Association of Visual Arts of Catalonia (AAVC) in 1997. It provides support facilities for artists and designers and offers services adapted to production needs associated with the arts world. The centre is subsidised mainly by the Catalan government and Barcelona City Council, and is managed by the AAVC Foundation. On the other hand, LABoral, Centre for Art and Industrial Creation, opened in 2007 in Gijón (Asturias) as an exhibition centre for art, science, technology and advanced visual industries. But it is also a venue for artistic and technological production, research investigation and training; and for the dissemination of new forms of art and industrial creation.