Creative Economies

The Creative Industries in a Nutshell

An Overview of the 13 Submarkets

Building on the approach of previous reports, statistical data, expert voices, and innovative visualisations combine to create new and complex analyses of the 13 submarkets of the creative industries in Switzerland.

What are submarkets? Why do they matter?

In previous reports we established analyses of 13 submarkets as a way to structure the creative industries, which were considered to be composed of clearly identifiable sectors. These analyses are limited in terms of understanding the more complex intersections between different economic sectors and creative skills that we now describe as “creative economies”. However, they are still useful for actors within these core industries and cultural policy makers or researchers seeking to understand the developments and potentials within creative industry submarkets, especially as a basis for sector-specific strategies.

A Note on Method: Comparative reading for a sharper focus

This report attempts to capture the complex and varied processes of creation, production, mediation and utilisation in different submarkets of the creative industries. To achieve this, it relies on official public statistics, for which the most current data available is for the year 2013. There are clear advantages to using public data, such as the continuity and professional quality of the surveys. However, there are also drawbacks, above all the time lag that happens because of the rigid methods and categorically defined standards of quality of public surveys. For our detailed reports, we therefore complement the hard data with selected short statements by actors and organisations from the different submarkets. These are up to date, subjective, and only represent a specific perspective on the field. They cannot claim to represent any of the 13 submarkets comprehensively. Instead, they offer an insight into current discussions, concerns and development with which the past development and projections suggested by the statistical analysis can be compared.

Statistical analysis: The 13 submarkets in numbers

The 13 submarkets remain largely the same as established in previous reports:

  • Music Industry
  • Book Market
  • Art Market
  • Film Industry
  • Broadcasting Industry
  • Performing Arts Market
  • Design Industry
  • Architecture Market
  • Advertising Industry
  • Software and Games Industry
  • Crafts Market
  • Press Industry
  • Audio-Visual Technology Market
Table 1: Creative Industries Switzerland 2013 (Creative Economy Report 2016: 9)

Employment is highest in architecture, the software and games industry, music and the press market. These four submarkets account for roughly half of all creative industry professionals.

The comparison of 2012 and 2013 reveals an interesting situation: while two of the three highest turnover submarkets stagnated (software and games industry –0.3%; architecture +0.7%), publishing declined by 3%. Conversely, the art market increased by almost 16%. Film (+9,1%) and design (+6.3%) also displayed impressive dynamics. According to national VAT statistics, the music business suffered the greatest slump. Total turnover amounted to CHF 1.8 billion or a decrease of almost 6%.

Key developments and striking insights: The submarkets briefly summarized

Music Industry
For the year 2013, Switzerland’s music industry employed about 31’000 people in 10’000 businesses. With a share of over 11% in Switzerland’s creative industries, the music industry is among the more significant submarkets in terms of employment figures. But while the number of businesses and employees increased compared to the previous year, the industry has experienced a sharp decline in turnover. There remain many open questions about future business and utilisation models. Apart from a noticeable rise of 50% in sales of vinyl, digitalisation – and streaming in particular – remains the driving force of the music industry.

Book Market
The Swiss book market (excluding the press segment of the publishing industry, which is treated separately below) employed 13’000 people in 4’800 businesses in 2013. Its share of the creative industries in terms of employees is at 5%. The book market therefore remains among the smaller submarkets in terms of employees. The number of employees as well as Gross Added Value (GAV) and turnover are in decline, indicating the continuation of structural changes in a sector faced with many challenges: shifts in reading behaviour from conventional books to e-books, the power of amazon’s algorithm and the uncertain future role of libraries are just three prominent examples.

Art Market
The art market in Switzerland employs just over 13’000 people in over 5’800 businesses. With a share of 5% in the total creative industries the art market is among the smaller segments in terms of employment. Its annual turnover is close to that of the book market. However the growth figures comparing 2012 and 2013 are very encouraging. While the businesses (+5.7%) and the employees (+2.7%) increased at a comparable rate to the rest of the submarkets, the turnovers increased dramatically by +15.6%. In an increasingly globalized market Switzerland seems able to maintain its reputation as a prominent location, in fifth place internationally in terms of turnover after the USA, China, the UK and France.

Film Industry
The Swiss film industry includes 11’000 employees in 2’700 businesses. It is a small submarket, with a 4% share in overall employees of the creative industries. In terms of its turnover of 2.8 billion Swiss Francs, however, the film industry positions itself considerably ahead of the art or book markets, which both have higher numbers of employees. This strength is also apparent in comparison to the preceding year 2012, with the film industry recording a 9% increase. The industry’s tensions between the global mainstream and local content will remain an increasing challenge for the small Swiss market. The city of Zurich is notable for its innovation-oriented launch of an initiative to support the promotion of film and media arts.

Broadcasting Industry
The broadcasting sector in Switzerland consists of about 150 businesses with 9’700 employees. This ratio is atypical for the generally highly segmented creative industries, since these numbers imply a structure dominated by a few large companies. Accordingly, radio and TV also demonstrate a turnover that, at 3.7 billion, is larger than that of the film industry despite the similarities in structure and content. While the numbers of businesses and employees shrunk slightly compared to the preceding year (businesses by -0.7%, employees by -0.3%), GAV and turnover were both on the rise.

Performing Arts Market
The market for performing arts in Switzerland includes about 2’800 businesses with over 15’000 employees. With a 5% share of employees in the overall Swiss labour market it is categorized as a medium sized submarket. The share of businesses is slightly lower at 4%. This ratio points to the dominance of larger institutions in this field. Compared to the previous year of 2012 the performing arts sector achieved a +6% increase in businesses and a +1.4% increase in employees. The turnover also rose by 4.1%.

Detailed focus report on the performing arts market

Design Industry
With just over 10’000 businesses and about 25’000 employees, the design market is among the largest submarkets of the creative industries in Switzerland. The ratio of businesses to employees suggests a trend towards segmented structures. The changes in the sector since the last report are positive across all indicators, a result that only the software and games industry, the film industry and the architecture market can match. The number of businesses is up by 9.2%, employees by +4.9%, GAV by +2.9%, turnover by +6.3%: The design industry has successfully carved out a place for itself between a local DIY approach and international branding.

Detailed focus report on the design industry

Architecture Market
The clearly structured architecture market counts among the largest of the creative industries’ submarkets in Switzerland: over 15’000 businesses employ almost 15’000 people. Equally impressive are the achieved turnovers of 11 billion Swiss Francs, topped only by the software and games industry. Developments between 2012 and 2013 corroborate this by showing a positive growth dynamic. Businesses rose by +2.2%, employees by +2.3%, GAV by +5.4&, turnover by +0.7%. The lion’s share of this is down to the sub-category of architecture firms, followed by interior designers and landscape planners.

Advertising Industry
The advertising market in creative industries is composed of advertising design and marketing. There are 3’300 businesses in Switzerland, which employ about 19’000 people. The advertising market is in the medium-size group of submarkets in terms of employees. The achieved turnovers of 5 billion a year, however, place the sector among the leaders. This represents the potential of this sector among Swiss creative industries. Thus the negative changes in almost all key areas in the period between 2012 and 2013, indicate substantial changes in the structure of the submarket and the pressure of strong competition.

Software and Games Industry
The games industry in Switzerland remains a huge challenge for analyses of the creative industries. On the one hand Pro Helvetia and the Federal Office for Culture regularly report on the successes of Swiss game designers in international forums. The projects developed at the Zurich University of the Arts are also received with interest by renowned research and development organisations. On the other hand, official statistics only provides a limited four categories to analyse this sector. This suggests that the vibrant milieu of game development largely escapes statistical analysis. Accordingly, the figures here primarily refer to the software industry. They show that of the … employees the majority work in programming.

Crafts Market
Crafts are a small submarket within the Swiss creative industries, with only about 1200 businesses and just over 5000 employees. In studies of other countries, this sector is often subsumed in the art or design markets. Based on its local tradition as well as emerging international tendencies that explicitly list “arts and crafts”, it is treated as a separate sector here. The positive developments between 2012 and 2013 are probably best understood in the context of an innovative and internationally networked “maker movement”. This is an emerging scene that will be interesting to observe over the coming years.

Press Industry
The press market is often lumped together with the book market in the publishing sector. Based on the high (cultural-) political relevance of this area, we decided to treat the book market and the press separately. With just under 6000 businesses and over 28’000 employees the press market in Switzerland is among the largest submarkets. Developments between 2012 and 2013 are negative across the board and points to the far-reaching structural changes underway in this sector. There is a strong demand for new business models in the space between analogue and digital, between fast news and sound background reporting.

Audio-Visual Technology Market
We decided to maintain audio-visual technology as a separate sector for similar reasons to those given for the press market above. If its 1500 businesses, 9000 employees and 2.7 billion turnover were added to the music industry, for example, this would create imbalances and shift the focus to much onto this submarket. The dimension of creation in the music industry would be massively displaced by technological distribution. Simultaneously, this separate treatment of entertainment electronics allows us to focus more effectively on this productive intersection between technology and content.

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