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South Wales media sector experienced £20m in additional revenue and 400 new jobs following research and development programme

21 June 2023

wide shot of a TV studio

The South Wales media sector experienced significant growth as a result of an ambitious Cardiff University-led innovation programme, a report finds.

The five-year Clwstwr initiative was led by the University, in partnership with the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University.

In total, 118 screen and news research and development (R&D) projects were funded and given access to specialist resources and expertise, with freelancers, SMEs and larger media organisations having the chance to cultivate new ideas which could transform the sector.

In a report measuring the impact of the programme, it was found Clwstwr’s funded projects have directly contributed to more than £20m of additional turnover and more than 400 additional jobs in the creative industries. Between 2019 and 2022, Clwstwr directly contributed £1 in every £13 of annual turnover growth in the Welsh creative industries.

Businesses that received Clwstwr funding also experienced a 650% increase in copyrights, patents, trademarks and registered designs.

The programme funded 17 projects focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as seven projects developing sustainable forms of media production.

Clwstwr Director, Professor Justin Lewis, said: “Clwstwr has blazed a trail for research and development in the creative industries. Clwstwr projects reported long-term benefits for their businesses, which included enhanced performance, productivity and improved project management processes.

“Our report presents clear evidence that investment in research and development is vital if we are to innovate and drive the media and creative sectors.”

Today, more than 15% of Cardiff’s enterprises are in the creative industries. South Wales has more TV studios than anywhere in the UK outside London and is the UK’s third largest film and TV industry employer (after London and Manchester).

Clwstwr was part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and delivered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council on behalf of UK Research and Innovation.

Arts and Humanities Research Council Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said: “This report demonstrates both the fundamental importance of the creative industries to Cardiff, and the value of R&D investment to unlock the innovation they thrive on.

“From the employment and investment generated to the astonishing wealth of creativity it has harnessed, Clwstwr has been a real success story for Cardiff and the wider area, and for the creative industries across the UK.”

The programme was also funded by Welsh Government, through Creative Wales.

Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said: “I’m delighted that this report demonstrates the major impact this project has had on the media sector in South Wales, and the need to continue investment in research and development.  R&D is key to uncovering creativity and new working practices that focus on improving sustainability, diversity and inclusion in the creative industries.

“Collaborative projects such as Clwstwr make it possible for small but vital projects to access the funding, knowledge and expertise they need to succeed and it is in line with our Programme for Government commitment that  Creative Wales’ £2m investment in the programme targeted business support for projects working on R&D.”

The Centre for the Creative Economy at Cardiff University has built on the success of Clwstwr to realise Media Cymru – a £50m collaboration to turn the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) into a global hub for media innovation with a focus on green and fair economic growth.

The full report, Clwstwr: A model for research, development and innovation in the creative industries, is available to download here:

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