Strengthening Africa’s audiovisual sector: market intelligence is critical

Author:Deidre Kevin
Position:Media consultant
SUMMARY

The cinema and audiovisual industries play a significant role in the promotion and preservation of cultural heritage. These industries also provide employment, promote innovation and contribute to national economies. The audiovisual industries in many developing countries have huge potential to support national economic development, but what steps need to be taken to realize their full economic... (see full summary)

 
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A recent study commissioned by WIPO – The WIPO Feasibility Study on Enhancing the Collection of Economic Data on the Audiovisual Sector in a Number of African Countries – highlights the importance of gathering audiovisual market data to achieve tangible results in developing effective policies, including for the acquisition, management and use of intellectual property (IP) rights, to strengthen the audiovisual sector in five African countries.

The study covers Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco and Senegal and was undertaken in the context of a WIPO project to strengthen the audiovisual sectors of those countries. It explores current trends, obstacles, challenges and potential opportunities in those audiovisual markets; highlights the advantages of effective audiovisual market-data mapping; and identifies steps to support more effective data collection.

A thriving audiovisual sector allows creative professionals to reap the economic benefits of their work and hinges on awareness of, and access to, an effective IP system. It also requires detailed knowledge of audiovisual markets. But little is known about the size or nature of domestic audiovisual markets in many developing countries. This, coupled with the sector’s informal nature, and poor IP awareness, makes identifying and effectively managing IP assets to leverage the sector’s economic potential a huge challenge.

Data on production, distribution and consumption

Data collection is vital to the development of effective policies, strategies and regulatory tools for a dynamic audiovisual sector. Policymakers need to be able to understand how markets for film, TV and video-on-demand work; who the main players are; and the latest consumer trends and viewing habits.

The WIPO study highlights a fundamental data gap within the audiovisual sectors of the countries covered. Even basic information on the number of films produced annually is unavailable. In some cases, there is simply no system in place to register or license production shoots, and in others, such systems are not being fully utilized by producers.

Statistics on the number of companies and professionals involved in the industry and revenues earned from content distribution are also rarely available. Where they exist, government entities that fund and support audiovisual production, such as Morocco’s Centre Cinématographique Marocain (CCM), help to fill the information gap.

Several countries also lack data on the way audiovisual works are consumed. These data include audience...

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