With DCMS publishing new figures demonstrating the strength of the UK creative industries, AA Chief Executive Stephen Woodford takes a deeper look at the numbers and what they mean for advertising…

On 28 November, our industry’s sponsor department in Government, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, released its latest Sector Economic Estimates for 2017. They show the dynamism of advertising and the wider creative industries and their increasing importance in driving UK growth. It is a timely reminder of the contribution that everyone working in our industry makes to the creative industries and to the wider economy.

The DCMS figures show that Britain’s creative industries broke the £100bn barrier in value to the UK economy in 2017, and between 2010 and last year, the sector’s GVA increased by 53%. This was the fastest growth among the DCMS sectors, and an increase nearly twice as fast as the UK economy. What is most pleasing is the report showed the advertising and marketing sub-sector accounted for 13.1% of creative industries GVA – this value having increased by 5.8% since 2016. These positive figures are reflective of our own recent AA/WARC Expenditure Report for Q2 2018, which recorded the 20th straight quarter of growth – up 6.4% year-on-year.

This is an outstanding result for our industry and is a tangible demonstration of both our success and our expertise in advertising in the UK. DCMS namechecked our industry in its press release and on social as a star performer among the sub sectors, highlighting advertising’s “bumper growth” in recent years. DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright commented that: “Our creative industries not only fly the flag for the best of British creativity at home and abroad but they are also at the heart of our economy.” He also said that DCMS is doing “all we can to support the sector’s talent and entrepreneurship as we build a Britain that is fit for future.”

We at the AA work closely with DCMS and other departments across Government with many valuable contributions from across our membership. Our AAccelerate programme to encourage advertising among SMEs has started with the launch of pilot projects in Scotland and the West Midlands. And our Promote UK group – in partnership with DIT – has been active in further promoting the UK as the leading global hub for advertising. We are looking forward to building on this in 2019 with a strong presence for UK advertising at events including Cannes Lions, SXSW and the Shanghai International Advertising Festival.

These figures reflect the incredible breadth, diversity and talent of all our colleagues, both UK and international, across British advertising and  are results that we should all be proud of.

Stephen Woodford

The full DCMS press release can be accessed here and the full report here, but other key statistics include:

  • DCMS sectors overall are now worth £268bn to the UK economy
  • The value of creative industries to the UK is up from £94.8 bn in 2016 to £101.5bn
  • Record breaking figures in the digital industries which are now worth more than £130bn