Creative Business Wrap – January 2023

Hello from nipaluna/Hobart! I’m here for a couple of days to facilitate some strategic sessions for Symphony Services Australia, the shared services organisation for the symphony orchestras around Australia. It’s the first time since COVID that the CEOs for the orchestras have all been able to meet face to face, so there’s a welcome buzz about the event. It’s made me think about how the model for sharing common services between organisations, in order to deliver efficiencies and extend expertise, isn’t so well established in Australia – perhaps it’s a model that other clusters of creative companies could adopt. Thanks to the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for hosting us!

Will Netflix and quotas for streaming support Australian screen creators?

Like many of us, I’m interested to see what the Federal Government’s new national cultural policy, to be released on 30 January, will bring for creative businesses.  Minister Tony Burke in his speech at the Woodford Folk Festival in December showed clear support for Australia’s TV and filmmakers through quotas to ensure more Australian content is produced and broadcast on streaming services.

Sam Nichols’ article on RN provides some useful analysis on how the Australian film and TV industry is changing. Spending by free-to-air television on drama production is decreasing while international subscription TV and video-on-demand producers like Netflix and Amazon Prime have increased almost fivefold in the past five years. Academic Amanda Lotz from QUT argues that Netflix’s business model can bring benefits to the local industry because its entire revenue stream comes from streaming. She cites recent Australian-made success Heartbreak High, the introduction of an Australian-based production team and a partnership with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation to develop two new children’s series as positive signs of support for the local industry and artists. Claire Pullen from Australian Writers Guild is more skeptical, given that back in 2022, the streaming companies were in Canberra lobbying against the introduction of local content quotas, while seeking to retain all the tax incentives for local productions.

I know lots of screen industry companies are watching with interest for whether the national cultural policy will confirm a quota system for the streamers, and we should know relatively soon.

New Fashion and Design Academy and Collaborative Arts Hub for Sydney

My alma mater, UTS, has been in the news twice recently, firstly announcing a partnership with the Museum of Applied Arts to establish the Creative Industries Academy; an immersive education and professional hub for the Australian fashion and design industry giving students the opportunity to plan and deliver major exhibitions alongside creative professionals. It will be located in the Tech Central precinct at Ultimo along with the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Fashion and Textiles, a UTS and TAFE NSW partnership focused on advances in sustainable fabrication, cutting and production.

Secondly, the new Haymarket Creative Collaborative Arts Hub, a partnership between UTS and the NSW Government, has announced that it’s inviting creative organisations to submit expressions of interest to set up residency. On offer are administration, meeting, and rehearsal space until 2026. Expressions of interest are being taken by Create NSW.

Life Trends 2023

It’s January and stories about business trends in 2023 abound. I liked this article by Accenture, focussing on the altered power dynamic between brands and customers and the ways in which people are adapting their lives and making use of emerging technology to meet their changing needs.

They call it being “life-centric” (buzzword alert), and it’s about achieving growth through relevance to how customers behave.  A life-centric approach acknowledges that people are multifaceted, and complex and impacted by external forces (economic, social, cultural, or beyond) then finding ways to respond that create value for all. Accenture suggests 5 “plays” to build new relationships between customers and brands: Gain a profound understanding of people, broaden your canvas for value creation, creatively transcend industry norms, design a delightful experience continuum, and build a fluid operation across functions. Not a quick read, and there is some jargon to navigate, but it’s an interesting extension of UX/service design thinking.

Start-ups gaining attention

Entrepreneurship is a particular interest of mine and the topic of my PhD Studies so this article in Smart Company about start-ups to watch in 2023 appealed to me. Industries as diverse as insurance, games, tiny house, digital detox, holiday accommodation, second-hand clothes, seafood, and fake meat are featured and a common thread is youths, casual dressing, and having a catchy one-word name. Butter, for example, is a subscription insurance model allowing users to ensure individual tech items at the point of sale.

Lumi, a start-up which won an award for Excellence in Serious Games at the Australian Game Developer Awards, is currently working on Kinder World — a free mobile game based on mindfulness, where players look after virtual house plants in real-time, send other players positive messages, do a breathing exercise or buy new pots and animal companions. I couldn’t be bothered doing the “what’s your houseplant self-care type” quiz but according to Galileo Ventures who have funded Lumi, 50000 people have already downloaded the “cosy games” app.

Keep them on their screens

Trying to keep young people away from screens is a losing battle, so if you have young people at home in the dying days of school holidays, here are 3 opportunities for them to get creative and make short films with mobile devices.

  • The Very Short Film Festival has a category for Under 21s to create a 2–5-minute short film which includes a reference to the 2023 theme “chip”.
  • Sleek Geeks is a competition for students to communicate a scientific concept in an accessible and entertaining way so that viewers “learn something without noticing”. Its patrons are Dr Karl and Adam Spencer.
  • REELise Film Festival is open to 10-18 yr olds in 3 age categories, and films of 5 minutes or less must be made on a phone or tablet.

Things to do in January

A few ideas of quick and easy steps to take this month to help grow your business.

  • If you want to refresh your business plan in line with the new year, but don’t want to spend lots of time and money doing so, take a look at our one page business plan template. Stripped back to the basics, its designed to help you focus on the stuff that matters.
  • Take a fresh look at your website and social media. Are all the links working? Do testimonials need updating? Have you got professionally presented and up-to-date creds docs to bring in new business and reinvigorate your relationships with your customers?
  • Review all those expenses that auto-renew like subscriptions, insurances and utilities to see if they are providing real value for your business. If not, go on a cancelling spree or shop around for alternatives.
  • Take 5 minutes to browse through’s grants finder tool. A handy holding place for government grant and assistance programs; there may well be a few that have slipped you by.
Found a great article on the business of creativity that is worth sharing or
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