A series of presentations on the Digital Content Industry Action Agenda (DCIAA) have been held around Australia in the last two weeks. The DCIAA is an industry led initiative aimed at developing Australiaâ€™s nascent digital content industries. Tom Kennedy (Media Zoo, AFC Commissioner] led an industry leaders group whose report â€˜Unlocking the Potentialâ€™ was released in November 2005.
The seminar profiled the main recommendations of the report and fielded questions about the next stages in implementing them.
Those recommendations are:
1. Increase Investment
2. Build Exports
3. Extend industry based training
4. Link industry to research and development priorities
It was acknowledged that the Australian digital content industries are hobbled by poor broadband infrastructure but this lay outside the strict terms of reference of the report.
Speakers from industry bodies AIMIA (Australian Interactive Media Industry Association), AGDA (Australian Games Developers Association) and AEEMA (The Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association) gave an industry perspective on the report and the need for change.
Some interesting things that came out included the fact that the Australian digital content industries currently are valued at 3.5% of GDP or 21 billion dollars. The industries employ about 300 000 people and there is a significant multiplier effect as digital content plays a major role in industries such as Education, Defence and Health.
Lack of investment was identified as one of the biggest inhibitors of long term growth in the industry. Many of the recommendations for change are aimed at encouraging development of intellectual property within Australia rather than our digital content industries remaining an outsourced production hub on projects where IP is held by overseas companies.
The next steps in the implementation of the recommendations of the report will occur through industry initiatives and programs. With major government support of digital content programs in South Korea, Singapore and Canada our global competition is already ahead of the game. Investment, tax offsets and securing export markets are important areas to resolve quickly in a time of rapid change. But the priority for me has to be on creating an environment of innovation â€“ and the sooner a very fragmented industry starts working together to do this the better. Contact and collaboration between the digital industry silos of e-learning, digital animation, digital visual effects, education, console gaming, research and development and information technology is one small step towards a finding a united voice. Let’s hope that when we find it this voice is deafening.