CULTURAL COLOMBIA

MEDIA & ADVERTISING | FOCUS: CREATIVE CONTENT IN COLOMBIA

Traditional manufacturing will be superseded by creative content development sooner rather than later in Colombia.

Team filming in Medellín, Colombia, March 28, 2021. Credit: Shutterstock / Alexandre Laprise


We live in a post-industrialized era, when the production of goods is replaced by the development and marketing of creative content and cultural products. Now, more than any time in history, markets are saturated with high-tech goods. Just look at the cell phone market as a ubiquitous commodity: a set of brands rule the market as cell phones increasingly become the symbol of our lifestyles in the 2020s. Although there are many choices in the market, all of them are—in essence—the same thing and offer exactly the same functionalities in a detailed examination.

What creates true added-value in this post-industrialized, post-digitalized world is the content that we consume on our devices. Many shrewd entrepreneurs have already noticed this niche opportunity and made a great deal of money from investing in the development of creative contents. Video games, TV series for streaming services, and music are but a few examples of the creative contents that we pay for and consume on a daily basis—with handsome returns for companies.

Colombia is also trying to tap into the creative content market. Fortunately, Colombia is well placed to capitalize on this emerging market. Spanish is the official and de facto language in Colombia. This allows Colombia to sell its creative contents not only to its population of 50 million, but also the entire of Latam, with an estimated population of 650-700 million, to say nothing of the 60 million Spanish-speakers who live in the US.

Moreover, Colombia is a leading IT hub in the Latam region, enjoying relatively well-developed internet infrastructure. More importantly, the number of skilled workers specializing in video editing, computer coding, video game development, animation, digital graphics, and mainstream filmmaking, which are in high demand by the creative contents industry, are increasing in Colombia.

With the right language, right know-how, and the right equipment and infrastructure already in place, there is no wonder that Colombia is trying to gain the upper hand in the market in the region. Colombia's proximity to the US and high levels of fluency in English among Colombian artists is also a bonus. Many Colombian content developers learn the tricks of the craft in US colleges and art schools, only to return to their home country to employ their know-how in the production of Spanish-language creative content, which are in high demand in the Latam region.

Colombian TV series are a case in point. Classic and modern series have turned many heads not only in Colombia, but also across the world. Some of these series even achieved popularity in non-Spanish-Speaking nations as culturally different to Colombia as Iran.

In the music industry, too, Colombia has been a center of creativity for years. Shakira, the versatile vocalist and entertainer, is perhaps the most well-known Colombian singer, but the country has a lot more to offer. Works by artists such as Carlos Vives, Karol G, and Fonseca, among others, can be heard at gatherings and parties across the Latam region and also in the US, which makes Colombia a major producer and exporter of music in the Americas.

Although the capital, Bogotá, is a major center of artistic creativity, there are many underrated talents outside the capital who are doing all they can to catch their break. Felipe Buitrago, the nation's Minister of Culture, wants to take important steps toward decentralization. He told TBY that his ministry is planning “to delve into the democratization and decentralization of the ministry's institutional services. The goal is to reach those geographic locations in Colombia where there is so much culture, diversity, and wealth, but where there is a lack of institutional presence."

Another issue with regard to creative content development is the ease of illegal downloads and piracy, which inflict remarkable damage on the industry. A series of legislation in Colombia, however, is ensuring a steady income for creative content developers. “We have a series of legislative measures, some of which are emergency ones. In addition, we have decrees for the implementation of the development plan and the orange economy. We complemented this, at the end of last year, with the ReactivARTE Law," said Minister Buitrago.