Information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly being used as a “bridge” towards particular segments of the cultural industries, between culture and other sectors, and towards the public.
ICT companies are giving support to cultural activities through sponsorships and donations that are mainly in-kind. However, neither side is doing this according to any government programme, but according to available regulation concerning taxes on sponsorship and donations (see 5.1.5).
ICT use is increasing in particular cultural industries, such as audiovisual industry (gaming industry in particular) but also in librarianship and archives and other cultural sectors. However, the support for the digitalisation of cultural institutions is not adequate enough and is hindering further development. In the last Call for support for the digitalisation of the museum, library and archival programmes, the Ministry of Culture supported 28 projects with 559 000 KN (approx.74 553 EUR), while the support for informatisation (buying new equipment in selected cultural institutions) amounted to approx. 2 mil kuna (266 666EUR). A number of institutions are working on different digitalisation projects; in April 2016 the National and University Library in Zagreb organized ‘The Sixth Festival of Digitalization Projects’ that gathers experts in the field of development and management of digital collections, building up the systems of digital libraries, digitalisation of different types of data and usage and promotion of the digital cultural and scientific heritage.
According to ITU, the percentage of individuals using the Internet is quite high in Croatia – in 2014 it amounted to 68,57%. However, more detailed in-view in Internet usage data gives less optimistic picture; according to Digital Agenda Scoreboard data in 2015, 66% of Croatians reported using the internet at least weekly (regular users), that is below the EU average. Croatia exhibited lower rates of daily use of the internet (frequent users), with 60% of the population reporting going online every day, compared to an EU average. It also has to be mentioned that in 2015, 26% of the population still had never used the Internet; which was lower than in 2013 but still higher than the EU average.
With the creation of the Cultural Council for New Media Cultures in 2004 (see chapter 1.2.2) the financing of artists working with new technologies became more transparent and they gained easier access to public funds. In 2013 the Council for New Media Cultures changed its purview to the Council for Innovative Cultural and Artistic Practices.
One of the most active promoters of new media culture is the Multimedia Institute, a non governmental organisation in Zagreb, which promotes different perspectives on the issues raised by the use of new technologies and media in contemporary culture, presenting discourses from civil (activists), technical and media cultural scenes. The Multimedia Institute is a member of CLUBTURE – a network of non governmental and independent cultural organisations, clubs and initiatives operating as a programme platform for exchange. The Network advocates the new cultural policies, at national, regional and local levels. It has initiated projects of regional cooperation and education programmes.
The changes in the field of digitalisation are swift and the number of users of new technologies is growing rapidly, but these developments are not followed by equally swift responses in cultural policies. Nevertheless, several projects of digitalisation of cultural heritage have been undertaken by the Ministry (see chapter 3.1). In 2013, the programme of digitalisation of the network of independent cinemas was completed and enabled digitalisation of 28 cinema halls and six film festivals in 18 counties and in 27 cities. This programme continues to be developed with 15 more cinemas planned in 2015, and the new Croatian Network of Independent Cinemas – ‘Kino mreža’ was established in Zagreb in November 2014.