UN agency launches database on world trade in creative products

15 August 2008

A new public database in creative products – such as music, audiovisuals, newspapers and electronic publishing – has been launched today by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Currently the site shows global trade flows for 1996-2006. Selected products are listed along with the major exporters and importers in major markets for such creative products as art and crafts, music CDs and video and films. Statistics on some 235 products can be found at http://stats.unctad.org/creative.

UNCTAD says that traditional statistical methods are being updated to reflect accurately the rapidly growing international exchange of digitalized products such as music, films, videos, advertising, news, and all creative content that travel via the Internet and mobile phones.

The Creative Economy Report 2008, released by UNCTAD and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in April, showed that global trade in creative goods and services grew by 8.7 per cent annually from 2000-2005, making it one of the most vibrant sectors in world commerce.

The value of exports of creative goods reached $335.5 billion in 2005, according to figures reported by over 130 countries, while exports of creative services totaled $89 billion.

Trade in creative products is dominated by developed countries – they account for about 90 per cent of exports of music and audiovisuals, for example – although the world’s poorer nations have achieved rapid growth in the creative sector recently.

One noteworthy trend is that printed media are facing challenges because of the growing influence of electronic publishing. In Europe, which has the world’s highest rate of broadband Internet penetration, circulation of printed newspapers is declining.

By contrast, in developing countries where competition from electronic publishing is less of a factor because of expensive and limited Internet access, the circulation of printed newspapers seems less affected.

Worldwide, the database shows, global sales of published material and printed media – a range of news circulated as newspapers, magazines and books – had a growth rate of 3 per cent for 2000-2005, with exports amounting to $15.3 billion in 2005.


♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.