by Iulian Fruntașu
The concept of creative economy is relatively new and constantly evolving; we can strongly state that creative industries refer to economic activities concerned with generating or using knowledge and information. They employ highly skilled people, creating the “knowledge economy”, developing new products and innovative services. Broadly speaking, everything that cannot be subjected to automation is, in one way or another, related to creative industries that use artistic skills and talents, giving value to other industries through design, advertising and branding.
The creative industry is one of the most dynamic in the Republic of Moldova, with an extraordinary potential; still, it’s complicated to analyze it statistically for reasons related to incomplete data collection and various methodologies used. One of its main features is the connection with IT industries. The government’s strong support for this led to a large volume of it services exports, reaching 164 million USD in 2018, a 40% increase compared to 2017 and a 40-fold increase compared to 2005.
There are 2070 companies on the market registered in the State Register of Legal Entities, most of them SMEs employing on average 7 people per company. The employees are mostly young professionals, with decent salaries, therefore having an attractive alternative to migration – a phenomenon that affects the Moldovan economy and society as a whole.
Analyzing the sub-sectors of the creative industry companies, turnover and sales/per employee (Annex 1), we find that the number of companies has remained approximately the same, despite the global economic slowdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which indicates a certain resilience of the industry. However, certain sub-sectors have suffered disproportionately more – industries involving the engagement in person of a large number of consumers: museum visitors, live music enthusiasts, cinema lovers. In other sectors, such as editing computer games or photography, the number of companies has increased.
It is visible that there was no substantial decrease of the turnover during the period of time considered, however some sub-sectors, such as the publishing activities of computer games recorded a significant increase.
At the same time, analyzing the contribution of creative industries to the total export of goods of the country, in a comparison of nine countries from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (Annex 2), the situation of the Republic of Moldova appears to be bleak, creative industries have a very low participation within the structure of exports. From a positive perspective, however, this can also be considered an opportunity not yet explored.
Moldova has an impressive pool of talents, of creators, mostly young people. More than 13 000 people have jobs in the creative industry. Still, the number of the servicing companies (and freelancers) is much higher. More than 3,000 photographers, 2D and 3D graphic designers and illustrators, sound engineers, post-production and social media representatives, copywriters and voice-over specialists are registered on platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Guru.com, Peopleperhour.com, Freelancer.com, Skyword.com, Dribble.com and other international platforms. They work independently and offer services to both local and international clients.
The government does not have enough resources to support the creative industries, but is open to partner up with foreign donors, bringing with them their expertise in the field and financial support. There are several important initiatives in this respect, of which we will only mention a few. The Association of Creative Industries Companies (COR), launched in 2017, mainly represents creative and marketing agencies, graphic design, architecture companies, video production and rental houses, sound design studios, music production and animation studios. COR manages, in partnership with the Academy of Arts, Artcor Creative Industries Center, a hub offering access to state-of-the-art technologies, a common workspace, training opportunities and a dynamic ecosystem for the creative services industry in Moldova. It is also fundamentally Mediacor – a digital media production center, opened in 2021 to artists and companies who want to implement their ideas in that field. COR, Artcor and Mediacor are the foundation of the emerging creative industries ecosystem in the Republic of Moldova.
The donors community, mainly represented by USAID and Sweden, is essential for the establishment and support of creative industries in Moldova, both in terms of international expertise to help the Ministry of Culture and other institutions in developing and implementing policies in the field, as well as supporting the above-mentioned initiatives, such as Artcor and Mediacor.
Romania traditionally helps Moldova in preserving the country’s cultural heritage, both materially, in such attempts as renovating their cultural institutions,–the National Museum of Arts would be a good example for that– and by supporting festivals and the inclusion in the UNESCO representative list of common files, supporting for the elaboration of laws in the field of culture (the law of historical monuments, the law of institutions and companies of performances or concerts), providing technical support for the training of specialists in patrimony and restoration, etc.
Although central and local authorities are increasingly involved in terms of public policies in this area, more action is needed in order to establish an appropriate legislative framework and to provide the necessary incentives, to elevate the export rates of the creative industries, such as, for example, to extend the type of taxation, the benefits and incentives of the IT sector to the sector of the creative industries, in particular the unique taxation of 7% or the repeal of the law on the regulation of the repatriation of funds, goods and services from external economic transactions no. 1466-XIII of 29.01.98, that could contribute to strengthening the export potential of the publishing industry.
One of the recent positive developments is the establishment of three new courses at 4 universities in the country starting in 2022: game design, animation and multimedia production. Another positive development that demonstrates a change in the thinking of decision-makers in the field are the “cultural” vouchers offered to young people. The cultural vouchers are non-transferable digital tickets with monetary equivalent, granting access to cultural services and products.
The artistic and cultural environment of the Republic of Moldova is vibrant and constantly developing, it enjoys international recognition in the fields of music, visual and performing arts. Its defining characteristics are the linguistic and historical connection to Romania, the separation in two entities being nothing but a historical accident. This fact facilitates the access of Moldovan artists to a common market of about 20 million inhabitants. Moldovan musicians are appreciated in Romania because of their talent and originality: Zdob & Zdub’s success at the most recent Eurovision contest in 2022 is one of the proofs for the thesis in question. The video production for the Romanian market is significant, as well as the editorial production.
With a strong IT sector, the cheapest internet in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (an average cost of 1.67 USD per 1 GB. Moldova has the cheapest price for internet in Moldova, 0.26 USD, whereas Greece the most expensive, 5.3 USD, the expected 7% flat tax, with these new instruction opportunities in the fields of game design, animation and multimedia production at 4 universities in the country, with Artcor and Mediacor, both functional platforms, that provide the necessary infrastructure to start any kind of enterprise in the sector, the Republic of Moldova offers serious opportunities for foreign investments in the field of the creative industries.
|1||58.11||Book editing activities||115.106.299584.296||80.171.733381.770||93.283.508431.868||99.680.287483.885||113.840.354494.958||144.238.049434.452|
|2||58.12||Editing of guides||4.219.361602.766||3.470.307315.482||9.306.297290.822||8.759.892230.523||5.277.755155.228||10.511.041291973|
|3||58.14||Magazines and periodicals||43.928.009249.591||48.785.208197.511||49.918.377|
|4||58.19||Other editing tasks||20.141.414347.266||27.257.571267.231||26.471.396245.106||28.315.779244.102||45.493.105332.066||45.090.639324.393|
|5||58.21||Computer game editing activities||250.450.691772.996||40.407.013348.336||50.891.493290.809||22.260.693210.007||19.120.799203.413||53.930.681642.032|
|6||59.11||Film, video and television production activities||53.971.862329.097||96.290.208460.719||44.807.829260.511||56.190.671303.733||145.322.710254.061||135.105.244209.465|
|7||59.12||Post-production activities of film, video and television,||31.592.710471.533||15.279.463363.797||12.121.110336.698||10.888.916320.262||14.388.007575.520||14.324.454682.117|
|8||59.13||Distribution activities of films, videos and television programs||12.832.030802.002||71.204.208962.219||71.293.473636.549||87.502.080723.158||63.428.610519.907||61.437.073423.704|
|9||59.20||Audio recording activities and music editing activities||253.41823.038||8.872.447181.070||16.715.414723.158||19.018.779271.697||18.006.817145.216||33.354.327277.953|
|11||60.20||Activities of production and broadcasting of television programs||158.473.531122.279||220.717.770147.736||141.703.07394.406||153.948.37186.683||89.844.94978.742||117.277.798|
|12||63.91||Activities of news agencies||11.931.103175.457||5.837.21176.805||5.600.50872.734||5.711.312132.821||5.242.343109.215||18.708.398296.959|
|14||73.11||Advertising agency activities||1.283.955.401768.375||1.426.886.318|
|15||73.12||Media representation services||67.754.898426.131||98.259.317461.311||81.628.071398.186||94.234.564422.577||125.096.402525.615||147.165.628595.812|
|16||74.10||Specialized design activities||118.038.087238.461||148.137.023291.608||91.268.528251.428||73.002.433244.975||48.074.767209.933||49.178.218273.212|
|18||85.52||Artistic education (music, theatre, choreography, fine arts and others.||2.854.64660.737||6.715.018129.135||6.277.140196.161||4.113.672137.122||4.647.564149.921||2.253.883102.449|
|19||90.01||Artistic performance activities (performances)||96.898.32752.748||116.047.07660.378||87.211.70544.292||81.515.38839.880||64.875.06632.832||54.096.23727.657|
|20||90.02||Support activities for artistic performance (performances)||33.087.661119.450||92.543.427307.453||85.551.274248.696||60.917.371177.085||50.396.726157.983||40.577.151141.384|
|21||90.03||Artistic creation activities||10.313.506112.103||5.834.275|
|22||90.04||Management of performance halls||149.606#DIV/0!||0|
|Total in MDL||2.599.555.404||2.819.052.691||2.571.418.135||2.445.724.469||2.348.235.016||2.234.784.939|
|Total in USD||150.176.511||160.446.937||146.938.179||139.755.684||134.184.858||127.701.997|
Source: Chemonics Group, contracted by USAID, June 2022.
|Contribution of the creative industries to the total export of goods of the country:|
|2016||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021||Growth, 2021/2016, p.p.|
|EU – 27||0.58%||0.53%||0.51%||0.49%||0.48%||0.45%||-0.13%|