Business

Creative industry spend falls by a third, but...

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business Writer jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 18, 2014    

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FEWER celebrations and sporting events facilitated by state promotion agency Jampro led to a one-third drop in creative economy spending last financial year.

Jampro's capital expenditure associated with the creative industries was $813 million in fiscal year 2013/2014 compared to $1.2 billion the year prior. Concurrently, the jobs facilitated over the period dipped by half to nearly 2,200. The decline was due to an extraordinary base year, buoyed by Olympic spending, explained Karen Mafundikwa, Jampro's senior consulting officer for Creative Industries/Film Commission.

"The financial year 2012/2013 involved significantly more capital expenditure than previous years largely because of Olympics and Jamaica 50 celebrations. Hence capital expenditure in 2013/2014 declined after a year which was buoyed by Jamaica 50," said Mafundikwa in a mailed response to Sunday Finance queries.

"I suggest you look at the figures for 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 to see what has been the trend."

In fact, after discounting 2012 Olympic spending, the last fiscal year remains the highest in at least four years. For instance, during fiscal year 2010/11, spending totalled some $569.5 million with 1,940 jobs. Similarly, spending was $450.8 million with 1,491 jobs in 2011/12.

Some of the major projects facilitated last year were Reggae Sumfest, Cathy Levy's IMAGINE, Circus in the City, The Next Cool Runnings (TV production on Jamaica's team at Winter Olympics), commercials by Virgin Media, Reality TV programmes such as The Braxton Series and Black Ink Crew, various documentaries and photoshoots by Vogue magazine.

In January, former film commissioner Kim Marie Spence departed for doctoral research studies in Australia. Her tenure reflected a shift from the once Hollywood-centric film commission to one centred on developing local films.

Animation was the latest thrust by the commission, seen as the new outsourcing frontier by government. Last year the government received criticism for allowing Trinidad & Tobago to facilitate a US$4- million film on Jamaica called Home Again. The film, which depicted challenges faced by individuals after deportation, was effectively snubbed by government despite Jampro apparently expressing interest, according to the wirter/co-producer Jennifer Holness in an earlier Jamaica Observer interview.

T&T welcomed the Home Again team by providing an attractive tax incentive that resulted in a US$330,000 cash rebate. The T&T economy benefited with 1,000 extras hired and more than US$1.7 million spent in that economy during the shoot.

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