The domestic creative industry lost as much as 90 percent of revenues in 2020, exacerbated by the closure of ABS-CBN that affected the total media landscape. 

In a presentation at the virtual Creative Futures 2021, Paolo Mercado, president of the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines, said the film (cinema based): performing arts, concerts and live events; heritage sites and museums, folk arts and crafts, suffered the most with 85-90 percent revenue loss during the pandemic year versus 2019.

TV and Radio was down 50 percent; traditional advertising (TV, radio, print, outdoor) lost their revenues by 30 to 50 percent while the software, animation and game development by 20 to 30 percent. 

Even digital marketing, advertising, web and graphic design were also down by 20 to 30 percent.

“Creative industries suffered very heavy losses because a lot of the behavioral restrictions, and the safety protocols, really affected the way people consume creative work. So, cinemas were closed theaters were closed concerts were not possible. Crafts and folk arts could not be sold and museums had lost its visitors for things like media they should have. They should have grown but there were other extraneous things like the closure of ABS CBN, which also affected the total media landscape,” said Mercado.

According to Mercado one emerging as a potential for the Philippines is the online creative freelancing, with about 1.3 to 1.5 million Filipinos already on online international online platform. These Filipinos, he said, are contributing freelancing work, majority of which was actually creative work, such as web design, like multimedia content editing. 

He said this kind of work is poised to become the next wave. In fact, he said creative outsourcing is a growing outsourcing sector in the Philippines.

Aside from the 1.5 million online freelancers, Mercado said there are also 2 to 3 million freelancers or project based work for international firms.

Before the pandemic, the Philippines is leading among its peers in terms of creative exports and services among Asian countries. 

Meantime, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the local creative industries numbered 305,070 establishments or 30.5 percent of total establishments in the country last year, many of which were affected by the series of community quarantine lockdowns applied against the pandemic. 

While some continued full on- site operations, others applied alternative work arrangements or even stopped operations. 

During the stricter lockdown of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) last year, about 38 percent of total establishments had to stop operating. This went down to 4 percent as the economy was reopening during the GCQ in the third and fourth quarter. 

Although the surge in COVID cases last March and April required us to temporarily escalate the community quarantine to ECQ and then down to modified ECQ and now GCQ in NCR Plus Areas. “This showed that the government’s efforts to reopen have to be gradual and calibrated in order to prevent any surge while bringing back jobs for the people,” Lopez said.

Before the pandemic, the industries provided 4.8 million jobs to our people, or 11.3 percent of total employment as of 2019. 

In that same year, he said total creative exports amounted to $6.8 billion or 6 percent of total exports, while industry investments amounted to P281 million of total approved investments from investment promotions agencies (IPAs).

In 2017, the industries’ value added amounted to P383 billion or 7.12 percent of the national total. 

In fact, in 2018, the Philippines ranked 1st in ASEAN for creative services exports and 5th in total creative exports. Within that same year, our total creative exports amounted to $4.1 billion in the Asia-Pacific region. 

“Overall, the country is in a strong position in terms of our Creative Industries as evidenced by our performance in the 2020 Global Innovation Index (or GII). The Philippines ranked 57th in creative outputs and we are at a competitive position in terms of our creative good exports at 10th place,” he said.

He expressed confidence the country’s Creative Industries can help drive country’s economic growth in the post-pandemic future. 

“The creative industry sector can also very well be the next service industry-winner, next to the BPO sector,” he said adding “Not only can it serve as one of the engines for our country’s growth, it can assist with our recovery from the challenges brought about by the pandemic.”

Globally, the Creative Economy. Has been cited as one of the most rapidly growing sectors and contributing 3 percent to the global GDP,. The Cultural and Creative Industries (or CCIs) generate $2.250 billion annually and the Culture Sector employs 30 million people worldwide, according to UNESCO. 

The pandemic, however, caused the closure or cancellation of many museums, festivals, live music events, theatres, cinemas, and other activities last year. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (or OECD), CCIs were among the most affected by the crisis, with jobs at risk ranging from 0.8 percent to 5.5 percent across OECD regions. 

Fortunately, he said, the Creative Industries were able to adapt and even develop greenshoots. Thanks to being at the forefront of technological adoption like digitalization. They found new ways to reach their audience in music, film, sports, and graphic design through online content platforms. Even online gaming has expanded exponentially during this crisis. 

Given the impact of the pandemic on this sector, it was actually appropriate that 2021 was declared as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development at the 74th UN General Assembly in 2019. 

“The pandemic has shown us how essential creativity is to our well-being as we found solace and resilience in films, series, music, and dance,” he said. 

With that in mind, he said, the Creative Economy Roadmap submitted by the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) envisions the Philippines in becoming the top Creative Economy in ASEAN by 2030 in terms of size and value of our Creative Industries. It also sees our country becoming number one in terms of competitiveness and attractiveness of our creative talent and content in international markets. 

To help us realize this goal, Cong. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia spearheaded the Philippine Creative Industries Act, which was filed by the Arts and Culture and Creative Industries Bloc (ACCIB). This bill aims to provide an enabling policy and governance framework to shape the country’s Creative Industries. 

The Department of Trade and Industry is also doing its part to support you under the Integrated Industry Development Program for the Creative Industries, which provides a strategic direction for the industry’s development. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (