ONLINE creative freelancing is seen as the next major outsourcing segment for the country given that about 1.5 million Filipinos are already participating in the gig economy.
Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) President Paolo Mercado said in an event on Monday that 1.3 million to 1.5 million Filipinos are already on international online platforms for freelancing services, majority of which constitutes creative work.
These include web design and multimedia content and editing, he enumerated.
“We are already poised that this would become the next wave, in fact, of outsourcing in the Philippines,” Mercado said.
He said that digital creative services and digital contents were least affected segments in the creative sector last year amid the flexibility to work from home. Some of the digital creative services identified by Mercado are digital marketing, web and graphic design.
“So especially those involved in digital creative services both for domestic and international clients, they were, at the beginning, some of them were adjusting from work-from-home setups…but overall by the second half of 2020, they were already recovering while some of them were even enjoying growth,” Mercado explained.
Overall, however, the CECP chief lamented that the local creative industries “suffered heavy losses” amid the lockdown protocols, which “affected the way people consume creative work.”
For example, he noted that cinemas and theaters were closed to curb the spread of infection. Tourism activities, meanwhile, also slowed down, affecting the sales of related industries like handicrafts, he explained.
Mercado noted that the cinema-based film sector; performing arts, concerts and live events; and heritage sites and museums, folk arts and crafts lost about 85 percent to 90 percent of their revenues last year.
The television and radio sector incurred losses of over 50 percent while traditional advertising (TV, radio, print and outdoor) suffered 30 percent to 50 percent in lost income in 2020.
Last year, software, animation and game development; and digital marketing, digital advertising, web and graphic design lost around 20 percent to 30 percent of their cash inflow.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez described the creative industry as a key economic driver for the country in the post-pandemic future.
“The creative industry sector can also very well be the next service industry-winner, next to the BPO [business-process outsourcing],” he said, adding that the sector is also an “important source of trade and investment opportunities” for micro, small and medium enterprises.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Lopez said, is doing its part in supporting the creative sector by crafting development strategy. “This would lead to improved competitiveness, enhanced capability, increased productivity, export promotion and development, and compliance to global standards for greater market access,” he explained.
In 2019, the CECP submitted to the DTI and Board of Investments the Creative Economy Roadmap, which sets five development sectors including advertising, film, animation, game development and design.
The road map aims to make the Philippines the top creative economy in the Asean region by 2030 in terms of size and value of creative industries, as well as competitiveness of talent and content.
The DTI chief said total creative exports reached $6.8 billion in 2019, which was 6 percent of the total exports. Industry investments in the same year amounted to P281 million based on the data from investment promotion agencies.