Diversity of the audiovisual industry in the digital era (2015-2016)

Cultural expressions and, especially, audiovisual goods and services, must face important transformations due to the expansion of digital technologies. The digital scenario offers the possibility of enriching cultural diversity, reinforcing its visibility and improving access to the wider public, even though it also poses new challenges. The emergence of global agents with logics and practices of business concentration and legal and financial engineering, for example, may hinder cultural diversity.

The research project “Diversity of the audiovisual industry in the digital era” focuses in powerful intermediaries (Google, YouTube, Spotify, Apple…) as well as in small and medium independent agents. It also aims to offer a balance of the implementation of the ‘Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions’ adopted by the UNESCO in 2005 and ratified by more than 130 countries.

 

Cultural diversity and the audiovisual sector: good practices and indicators (2012-2014)

The concept of cultural diversity occupies a central role in contemporary social debates. Introducing, considering, integrating or incorporating “diversity” has become one of the most common places in public policy. This is also true for the case of communication and cultural policies.

Part of the importance gained by the concept and its application to different aspects of current social life lies within the work that has been undertaken by UNESCO (Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, 2001; Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, 2005) and different social organizations (International Network on Cultural Policy-INCP, International Network for Cultural Diversity-INCD, etc.).

The research project “Cultural diversity and the audiovisual sector: best practices and indicators”, taking place from 2012 to 2014, aims to tackle cultural diversity within the framework of those different sectors that constitute audiovisual industries (film, television, radio, recorded music and videogames), giving a special consideration to Spanish reality.

Main objectives are:

  • Understand and analyze the different types of consequences (institutional, legal, political…) that emanate from the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions by Spain (25.10.2006) and other countries, focusing on the audiovisual industries.
  • Identify factors and circumstances that are an obstacle for the diversity of audiovisual cultural expressions.
  • Identify those “good practices” that promote diversity of cultural expressions in the audiovisual industries.
  • Develop a set of indicators that account for the degree of cultural diversity that a certain audiovisual industry presents, aiming for the development of successfull public policies.

It is our understanding that the exclusive application of the logic of the market to audiovisual industries represents a threat to cultural diversity. Such an option would be the equivalent to the homogenization of the audiovisual based exclusively in economic and commercial criteria, that’s to say, to leave behind those audiovisual expressions “less profitable” or with no resources and support mechanisms to turn to. The effective protection and promotion of cultural diversity in the audiovisual industries requires therefore all necessary means to diagnose the degree of cultural diversity (and tensions inherent to it) they exhibit.