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Trade in music and movies shows decline in digital age, but India moves into top ten cultural exporters

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New Delhi, 24 March: Although trade in cultural goods doubled during the period 2004-2013 despite a global recession, there was a decline in both music and movies because of the massive shift among consumers towards web-based services.

Trade in recorded music products, for example, declined by 27 percent from 2004 to 2013, and trade in movies fell by 88 percent during the same period; however, audio-visual services as a whole steadily gained ground.

Despite the downturn in the trade of print products, reflected by the decline in newspapers, books held their ground as an important cultural export in some regions, growing by 20 percent from 2004 to 2013.

A new report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), The Globalisation of Cultural Trade: A Shift in Cultural Consumption--International flows of cultural goods and services 2004-2013, takes an in-depth look at the export and import of cultural goods and services around the world.

“Trade in cultural goods totaled $US212.8 billion in 2013, nearly double the amount in 2004,” said UIS Director Silvia Montoya. “This is further evidence of the critical role cultural industries play in today’s global economy.”

However, India and Turkey moved into the top ten countries among emerging markets and exporters of cultural goods.

From 2004 to 2013 the “dematerialisation”, or the digitisation of products, such as music, movies and newspapers, had an enormous impact on these industries, as their products moved into the realm of cultural services, often sold as web-based subscriptions.

As more and more cultural goods move from the tangible to the digital, the report notes that obtaining accurate data on the flow of these goods is becoming more challenging.  Finding new sources of data and cooperation between international organizations in the promotion and improvement of cultural trade statistics, especially in the developing world, will help improve the understanding of the real contribution of the trade in cultural goodsto the global economy.

China is now the lead exporter of cultural goods, followed by the United States. In 2013, the total value of China’s cultural exports was US$60.1 billion; more than double that of the United States at US$27.9 billion.

While the US has lost its position as the top exporter of cultural goods, it remains the top importer of these goods. In general, developed countries play a smaller role in cultural exports, but still dominate imports.

Art and crafts have moved up in the ranking of the ten most traded cultural goods, fueled by gold jewelry -- a safe harbour in uncertain times.Gold jewelry exports represented more than $US100 billion in 2013.

Statues, statuettes and paintings also gained ground. Their share of the trade in art and crafts was worth US$19 billion in 2013.

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