There are a good number of reputable creative agencies in the country. Add the medium and startup scale web and digital design agencies, then one can surmise that there is a thriving creative industry in the Philippines. If we ask the experts, the Philippine creative industry scene can do better in improving its reputation from a niche clout to an industry that has the potential to contribute a larger role in the country’s economic growth and craft a global identity.
In order for the PH creative brand to go global, the country’s creative scene must come to a full cycle maturation of its market through factors such as culture, economy, technology and the Filipino’s innate creativity says Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado.
In 2015, the global creative industry contributed 3% of the world’s GDP that is valued at $2.250 trillion. These encompassed diverse creative fields of production, promotion, distribution, commercialization of products, services and activities that is within the pursuits of cultural, artistic and heritage work.
For the Philippine creative industry, it contributed PHP 661 billion or 7.34% of the country’s GDP in 2014. The figures are an indication of a thriving specialist economy and it can do better as a whole. “Despite taking up a significant portion of the labor market, Filipino creatives only ranked 22nd in their contribution to the country’s GDP,” said Nora Terrado as published in the Businessmirror.
According to Ms Terrado, the creative industry in the country is still within a nursery period and if properly cultivated, has the potential to be a strong economic presence locally and internationally. This means more revenue generated by the industry and improve its reputation globally.
“Right now, we’re just in the very nascent stage of creating that industry. We have so much gains that we have done already, but they are not working together,” Terrado noted.
It will take a much more concentrated effort from both private and public organizations in order to push the growth of the local creative industry. Private organizations such as the alliance of creative agencies, industry recognized personas and educational institutions must proactively meet in order to assess their unified front as a whole. For the public sector, the government must acknowledge the importance of creative, artistic and heritage importance of creativity that attracts tourism and improve the country’s artistic reputation in the eyes of the western influencers.
The economic benefit derived from the maturation of the creative industry will not only be limited to the commercial gain of agencies. It has also the potential to generate jobs, attract investments and help improve the country’s cultural significance that benefits society and its development.
“[It is a] brand that we will be known for, particularly in terms of content, where it is registered as an intellectual property and we have ownership and rights with. Here, the Philippines can earn royalties and our people will have their creative services, which not only the domestic market will recognize, but also the world,” Terrado said.
In order to realize the holistic development of the country’s creative industry, it will encompass the cooperation of professionals, agencies, government, education and public in a collective consciousness to make progress.
In crafting a globally recognized market identity, it takes years of collective and holistic efforts to improve not only the quality of the industry and its members, but must also standardize the professional skills attributed to the industry’s practice. In the country’s IT-BPM industry, Filipinos are globally recognized for their linguistic capabilities and technical skills when it comes to programming and software. In a diverse industry, which is the creative front, skills that are in line to creative and derivative works – done traditionally or digitally must scale with their global peers in order to improve the country’s competence that wins over recognition.
“But it will take time to do it, probably more than 10 years. If we have done it with offshoring and outsourcing, I think this is our next IT-BPM [information technology-business process management] industry in the services sector,” the undersecretary said.
Outsourcing creative works to Filipinos is not limited to only the contracted work offered by both local and international firms operating in the country. Creative work contracted also applies to the consultancy setup, freelance and collaborative works entrusted by clients to talented Filipinos who practice their artistry.
Paolo Mercado, founder of the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP), said that the creative industry is thriving in the country. “We have a very healthy domestic creative industry market.” Despite the rosy outlook, the local boom must not limit itself to its local success and must look at the broad global market for opportunities. “What we have seen, though, is that there’s not enough perspective in terms of what we can do internationally, or how do we win as a creative economy,” said Mercado as quoted by the Businessmirror.
One of the CECP’s visions is to make the Philippines among the top echelon when it comes to the creative reputation in Asia & Pacific. “What that means is for sure we already have Korea, Japan, China and India to be among the top four. We need to be No. 5, beating Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.,” Mercado said. In order to realize that vision, the country must supplant its neighbors in Southeast Asia first.
“So we really drive the perspective of competitiveness that we are a legitimate creative-economy player. For us to really win market share in an international creative marketplace, we have to make sure of what we are good at, and then drive that skill in order to gain real share versus our neighbors and competitors,” Mercado further added.
With the digital age, the creative industry has shifted from traditional print and broadcast to the many aspects of digital that require creative works. When it comes to creative work to be done digitally, businesses often outsource the project in the country, home to its many agencies and talented professionals. It is an industry often encapsulated under the layers of website design, digital collaterals and digital assets. The goal of maturation for the country’s creative industry, the recognition through reputation with its prestige – must be the primary aspect of awarding the project, aside from savings on cost upon the project fees.
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