Digital division or digital multiplication?
Andy Duncan speech to NESTA - embargoed until 8.45am, 15.01.2009
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Let me start by thanking NESTA for hosting this event. With their leading edge
work on the relationship between the creative industries and the wider economy,
and in view of their relationship with us at Channel 4 as strategic partners, this is
the best possible venue for what I want to say this morning. And let me also
congratulate NESTA’s Chairman, Chris Powell, on his richly deserved
knighthood, a recognition of his immense personal contribution to Britain’s
creative industries and the policies that have helped to grow them.
Nobody can deny that 2009 promises to be an interesting year. The recession is
deepening and prompting some radical re-thinking of the balance between public
benefit and private gain in the way we manage our affairs. More fundamentally,
we can see that the balance of economic power in the world is shifting away from
a handful of states on either side of the North Atlantic, and the global economy
really is becoming global.
This new global economy is not just about the flow of goods and finance around
the world; it’s about the flow of ideas - of music, images, fashion, styles.
Here’s an illustration of the point. A film made by a Scotsman, set in India, with a
star who is of Indian heritage but has lived all his life in the UK, with a script
which is almost as much in Hindi as in English, wins four major awards in the
That’s globalisation. The film, of course, is Slumdog Millionaire – winner of four
of the six Golden Globes won at the weekend by Film4.
And if you dig a little deeper into the story you quickly realise that the basis of
that film, the TV show Who wants to be a Millionaire? has itself been a global
phenomenon and that, too, was created in the UK - by an independent television
Britain may not be selling goods in the way that it used to