Creative Industries Economic Results Assessment™


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CIERA™, the Creative Industries Economic Results Assessment, is Creative BC’s proprietary tool producing annual impact estimates for the province’s creative sector – these five storytelling industries produce creative content for mass production and global consumption, with a sixth area of creators and services supporting more than one creative industry.

Motion Picture – creating, producing and marketing creative products in the forms of feature films, TV series, documentaries and factual content, this industry leverages B.C. talent including: above-the-line creators (narrative-influencing, creative direction); below-the-line film crew; animation, VFX and post production (part of the creative tech workforce); and those in industry-agent fields, from supply and service companies to film festival staff.

Interactive + Digital Media – creating, developing and marketing creative products in the forms of video games and virtual/augmented/mixed reality experiences, this industry leverages creative tech talent from developers to engineers, with a talent base with many similar and overlapping skills to those working in animation, VFX and post production.

Music + Sound Recording – creating, producing and marketing musical content, from recording and performing artists to the businesses that support them including record labels, music presenters, recording studios, event producers, venues, festivals and more.

Book Publishing – creating, producing and marketing literature in all forms, disseminated across traditional and digital platforms from print to e-books

Magazine Publishing – creating, producing and marketing long-form periodical journals – from lifestyle to literary to scientific content, online and in print.

Multi-Creative Industries – this segment emerged from the research, reflecting many companies and creators supplying skills and services to more than one creative industry.

Built and tested in British Columbia and implemented in both B.C. and Nunavut, CIERA™ is scalable and is currently being considered by other provinces and territories to consistently measure the economic impacts of the creative sector in their respective regions.

Why we built CIERA™
In FY2019/20, Creative BC undertook thorough research for the Amplify BC music program. The research was supported by Notio Media and Deetken Insight‘s team of statisticians. Using public datasets, obtained from Statistics Canada, a bespoke annual measurement tool was designed for the province’s music and sound recording industry. While public datasets lag by two years, (the most recent available is 2018), the tool was intended to compliment and connect valuable, real-time industry research with a consistent, provincially and nationally accepted year-over-year benchmark.
Given the importance of consistent and comoparable data more broadly across the sector, a decision was made to efficiently leverage the methodology and deliver standard Statistics Canada-based sector insights for each of the creative industries served by Creative BC, as well as for the ecosystem of creative capacity that fuels and integrates them all.
CIERA™ provides contextual information for administrative data and demonstrates economic impact of creative industries to wider groups of stakeholders. It is required as a strong foundation upon which to build programs, policy and more.
The CIERA™ key indicators and cycle

With the first CIERA™ indicators published for 2019 and contextualized in Creative BC’s FY19/20 Impact Report, CIERA™ indicators are published annually, measuring economic impacts in a repeatable, comparable and comprehensive manner. The focus of the results is on GDP and JOBS, as these are the most meaningful in terms of economic impact.

Quality is assured in the following ways:

  • Utilizing datasets exclusively from Statistics Canada that are designed to enable this kind of specialized research & analysis
  • Interviews with Statistics Canada analysts to confirm acceptable use of the data
  • Validation of results against related Statistics Canada datasets
  • Extensive external review of the methodology by a BC Stats expert
  • Regular maintenance and enhancements for continual alignment

Select key limitations include (see full methodology for detail):

  • Statistics Canada Methodological Changes – results should ideally not be viewed as an exact time series, because Statistics Canada’s measurement methodologies may change from time to time and historical results are not alway updated. When methodologies are changed by Statistics Canada it will produce results based on the new methodology implemented for the most current year and may or may not use a process called “back-casting” to update previous years with the revised methodology so as to offer insight to trends.
  • Pulic Data Measures Hours Not People – Job measurement is not ideal for gig work as it provides insight to full-time and equivalent jobs based on a traditional approach to hours worked, as opposed to counting the number of people working and sharing those hours. Real-time industry insights and research can be used to compliment CIERA™ Jobs indicators. (see more below)
  • Statistics Canada data “lags” by two years – for example 2019 actuals are published by Statistics Canada in 2021 (typically in November of each year). Therefore, benchmarks and statisticians’ estimations are required for one additional year to bridge lagging indicators to previous calendar year for relevance to industry.

The following are the Key Indicators measured:

  • Total GDP – this figure is the sum of direct, indirect and induced contributions to the economy, it represents labour and profit contributions by the industry primarily, but excludes expenditures on supplies and services. Indirect and induced show economic contributions within the province only. GDP figures are net of any government subsidies received by the industry.
  • Direct Output – this figure is the direct impact (no indirect or induced are added) and represents labour and profit contributions GDP plus expenditures on supplies and services.
  • Total Jobs – this figure is the sum of direct, indirect and induced numbers and it represents traditional FTE and PT equivalent jobs. It represents work, but not workers, and currently has limited ability to measure gig work. It must be noted that the creative industries include many people with gig work that is not easily assessed using this traditional measurement approach model. Statistics Canada recognizes the importance of gig work and acknowledges that it is most prevalent in the arts, culture, recreation and sport industries. Furthermore B.C. has the highest share of gig workers in the country – in 2016, 8.7% of male workers and 10.7% of women workers in B.C. are engaged in the gig economy.

CIERA™ estimates three types of economic impacts:

  • The DIRECT impact reflects the immediate economic activity of those businesses within the creative industries.
  • The INDIRECT impact reflects the demand from creative industries for inputs from other industries. The indirect impact is cumulative, and includes transactions going all the way back to the beginning of the supply chain.
  • The INDUCED impact reflects the economic activity that arises as a result of industry workers, involved in either direct or indirect activity, spending part of their wages and salaries on other goods and services.

Note: CIERA™ makes adjustments to account for “own direct” activity; that is, supplier activity from the same industry. Not adjusting for “own indirect” activity leads to a form of double-counting between direct, indirect and induced effects within a given industry.

For comparability with other industries and reports, it is important to identify whether Total or Direct impacts are referenced.

Key to annual tools and resources

Each year, these items will be published as resources for transparency and leverage of CIERA™ insights:

  1. CIERA™ – standard methodology with annual notations reflecting changes to Statistics Canada or enhancements to CIERA™ approach
  2. CIERA™ tables – GDP, Output, and Jobs
  3. IOIC / NAICS code mapping spreadsheets
  4. The annual CIERA™ Impact Report in which the CIERA™ figures were contextualized
CIERA™ 2021

Numbers for the overall sector show that Total GDP and Direct Output have both returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, different industries within the sector have unique stories to tell.


CIERA™ 2020

COVID presented challenges that were overcome through valuable proprietary and public datasets.


CIERA™ 2019

The first-ever CIERA™  results for GDP, Output and Jobs, contextualized in the FY19/20 Creative BC Impact Report.


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