Faced with “platformization”, the report called for a strengthening of the “public service of culture”.

The cultural sector will face two crises in a short time, from which the Council for Economic Analysis has drawn some observations and lessons. At first, a long structural crisis, which is nothing more than the development of digitalization and “ platformization culture and access to it, which accompanied and accelerated the paradigm shift from scarcity to abundance.

In the second stage, the medical crisis, economic shocks will reveal the strong attachment of the French to cultural practices and places counterbalanced by continuing disparities in cultural spending and equipment across territories.

Inequality of access and economic inequality

Thus, the authors of the note note a significant permanent gap in municipal spending and subsidies to cultural associations between Paris (300 euros per inhabitant) and isolated cities (80 euros per inhabitant). The same applies to the concentration of national operators in the capital, which is supported by the current state policy. ” These differences in spending deserve even more attention because they affect the local economy, the attractiveness of territories and the well-being of people. “, the authors emphasize.

The start of the pandemic will have a measured impact on the book sector, as the latter’s turnover increased by 5% in 2020: the closure of cultural centers will only have a measured impact on the overall publishing revenue.

compound character » State assistance during the crisis helped to limit the negative impact in certain sectors, in particular in the books: the recovery plan, aid and loans, the conversion of part of the funds from EMOs, emergency funds were able to help the fragile actors of the book. In terms of cultural policy, the cultural pass proved to be a tool that boosted book sales, but ” not always in favor of French authors due to the significant costs of Japanese manga.

Nevertheless, ” aggregated, serial and tiered nature of assistance sometimes obscures significant differences among beneficiaries, the report notes. In the field of culture, [l]The number of VSEs in a volatile situation has doubled, while the rest of the economy has remained stable. The authors continue.

According to the latter, therefore, it is necessary to balance public support for culture in the territory, as well as continue financial support for the most vulnerable structures and subjects of culture.

Platformization of culture

The pandemic and its periods of isolation have accelerated the consumption of dematerialized cultural goods, representing the shift from a logic of scarcity to a logic of abundance in terms of cultural supply. With a paradoxical effect: mass distribution is made easier by the Internet, but the competition, especially in terms of visibility, is much stronger.

Platformization in the field of culture poses four challenges for public authorities: in terms of competition, which therefore requires the harmonization of the regulatory framework, legal qualifications, contracts and transparency of these dominant platforms. Therefore, the public authority will have to deal with this issue in order to correct ” [l]import to France of Anglo-Saxon copyright principles in the acquisition and production procedures of broadcast service providers. [qui] reduced the level of protection for producers and right holders “.

To rectify this, the authors recommend the creation of an intermediary body, modeled on film or book intermediaries, which could deal with issues relating to the conformity of contractual practice with French law.

In addition to this regulatory and legal aspect, the authors of the report recommend paying attention to “ initial and continuous digital learning to make the relationship between creativity and digital technologies the basis of the strategies of cultural actors. “. The Ministry of Culture calls for the creation of” an end-to-end service that coordinates activities carried out by cultural industries and public operators. ”, in particular the specialized groups of the National Archives, Ina and BnF.

This consolidation of services will be accompanied by the interoperability of these institutions under supervision and support in “ incubator ”, promoters of cultural projects.

Redirect Aid to Distribution

The authors of the report propose to structure the Culture Pass credits, Emmanuel Macron’s flagship offering in this area, a bit more by reserving ” at least 30% of the amount allocated to finance an internship in the field of culture “. Another part of loans, also corresponding to 30%”, could […] be sanctified[e] to territorial cultural offerings “, such as visiting cultural venues or buying books confiscated from a local bookstore.

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The authors also invite the state to take part in the “ platformization “culture through web posting” a platform capable of centralizing a publicly supported offering to prevent its commercial use by private platforms in a quasi-monopoly position. “. Thus, the experiment of the Ministry of Culture “Culture at home”, launched at the beginning of the pandemic, should be extended: the authors recommend entrusting Arte with the development of the European platform by increasing its funding.

Finally, a policy that supports creation should, according to the authors, ” be reconfigured[e]s for a better balance between creation and distribution ” to adjust the new competition in terms of visibility for the multiplicity of created works.

The full version is available at this address.

Photo: illustration by Scott Beal, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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