In 2002, the Ministry of Culture set up a working group for the first time to examine policy issues regarding the development of culture industries. This issue has been very important because of Serbia’s future membership of the WTO and also because of the culture industries’ potential for future economic development in Serbia. A statement provided by the Ministry of Culture has been included in a Memorandum on Trade to the WTO. Between 2002-2017 there were several initiatives by the Ministry of Culture to create a national programme for creative industries. An example is the task force for creative industries in 2011, which proposed the programme “Creative Serbia” as a set of new policy measures for cultural and creative industries (CCIs). In 2012, the Ministry of Culture was no longer responsible for the implementation of this programme Until 2017, the CCIs have had a marginal place in official state level policy.
In 2017, the Premier’s office engaged a consultant from the United Kingdom in advising on creative industries policy. They also organised the high-profile conference “Creative Serbia: the future is creative” to promote its new creative policies and issued a series of statements which relate Serbia’s future with the development of creative industries. At the beginning of 2018, the Premier founded a special Council for Creative Industries. Most of those activities show that creative industries is used as a tool for political populism, self-marketing and the concealing of unsuccessful measures of economic policy. The huge media campaigns and the attention which follow those activities created a public image that creative industries are the new instrument for fixing most economic and cultural problems of Serbia.
Despite that, creative industries, mostly design, IT, gaming are experiencing a steady growth. Several studies have shown the different socio-economic impacts of CCIs.
In 2014, WIPO supported the Institute for protection of intellectual property in Serbia to produce research on the copyright industries in Serbia. The aim of this research is to present the economic contribution of the copyright industries in Serbia as well as to analyse the intellectual property framework and its influence on the copyright industries’ development in Serbia. Based on this study, new amendments on the Intellectual Property Law were prepared. The UNESCO Institute for statistics supports the pilot study on measuring the economic contribution of CCIs in Serbia in 2015 to explore the possibility of harmonizing the cultural statistics in this filed. The Institute for study in cultural development implemented the project “UNESCO culture and development indicators” in 2016 and produced several indicators for measuring the impact of the cultural field on the national development.
In 2016, the CIs comprise of 6.841 enterprises and 13.697 entrepreneurs. CIs are predominantly composed of small and micro enterprises (23,8%) and entrepreneurs (67,5%). The creative industries sector is characterized by a large number of micro organisations with less than 3 employees.
The contribution of the creative industries to the Serbian economy and job creation can be seen in direct economic impact (primary and secondary economic impact). In 2016, the total economic impact of the creative industries in Serbia was 8.8 % of the total employment and 10% of the total Gross Value Added (GVA). Depending on sub-sectors in the creative industries, the average growth rate of employment was 5,5%, while the GVA growth rate was between 0.5% and 10.8%.
Table 1: Economic impacts of Creative industries in Serbia, in EUR, 2016
|Economic indicator||Primary impact||Secondary impact||Total economic impact of creative industries|
|Formal employment full time||79.189||73.724||152.913(8.8%)|
|Contribution to Gross Value Added (GVA), real price 2002||3,3%||7.5%||10,8%|
Source: Database for creative industries, 2017 Creative Economy Group
IT, software, film and video represent the most important employment groups with on average 32% of the total number of employed persons in CIs. There were 74.272 creative class occupations in Serbia in 2016. Two occupational groups that absorb the majority of the creative workforce are publishing and music, performing and visual arts with the share of 40% in total of the creative class occupations.
CIs businesses are very concentrated, with more than 70% of the business located in Belgrade. Outside of urban centres, CCIs play a very important role in cultural life. The mapping of rural creative entrepreneurship in two regions (Pirot and Kikinda) show a very strong impact of those activities on protecting cultural diversity, empowering women and creating a vibrant cultural life. Unfortunately, rural creative industries are outside of the interest of the government, which mostly focuses on “big deal and business” and fast economic results.
In 2016, the total export of CCIs goods was 356 million US dollars, while the export of CCIs services was 370 million US dollars. The average growth rate of the Serbian export of creative goods and services was 8.75% per year (2010-2016), while the most dynamic average annual export growth rates were in the area of the new media, crafts and publishing, gaming and IT. The leading export companies in CCIs are film company “Work in Progress”, G-THECH (gaming), PSTECH (software), Universal media, Grey worldwide, New moment (advertising), Westum and EXECOM (e commerce) and PINK International (media).
There are very limited measures and strategies which support the CCIs’ growth, especially at the local level. These kinds of policy measures are still in the embryonic stage.
In 2016-2017, several trainings for local municipality representatives were provided with the aim to learn how to integrate culture and creative industries in a sustainable development. The trainings were based on the principals of the UNESCO Convention on protection and promotion of cultural diversity. More than 210 local representatives are educated through this programme and strengthening to work on local strategies for the development of CCIs and to promote cultural diversity.
In the field of the creative industries business, there are several ad hoc programmes for film professionalisms, media and visual effects and creative entrepreneurs. All of those programmes are project based and without continuity. In 2016, the government starts with a programme of prequalification for unemployed people to work in the IT industry. However, this programme offers a very basic level of knowledge for web programming or other basic IT skills.
In the last few years, the opening of several co-working spaces across the country has started. These creative hubs and collaborative platforms gather freelance professionals from the fields of design, IT, gaming industries, as well as freelance cultural managers, social entrepreneurs and curators. While Belgrade is seeing the proliferation of such spaces and some specialization (Nova Iskra is a design hub, Gnezdo for young entrepreneurs, InCentar for social entrepreneurship), co-working spaces in other cities are generally gathering freelancers, as well as some employees from culture or/and creative industries (BeeHome in Subotica, Pionirska from Novi Sad, Coworking Zrenjanin, etc.).