In this study published by Planet Agora, Pierre-Jean Benghozi, research director at the CNRS and director of the managerial economics research centre at the École polytechnique (Paris), postulates that cultural industries are both the basis for creating commercial riches and sources of symbolism and identity. As such, they focus on powerful issues examined during recent national and international debates. In his opinion, locating these economic issues is key to understanding the current controversies and guiding public action.
More than the economics of production, the author states, broadcasting and distribution structures weigh heavily on cultural industries. This situation raises the direct issue, nationally as much as internationally, of the pluralism of the accessible (not only produced) forms of artistic and cultural expression. This leads him to uphold that the main risk of standardizing the content is not a drop in production, but essentially a focus on the most attractive works, in a star-system perspective and a two-tier market in which marketed products subject to a cost inflation spiral enter on one side and restricted broadcasting productions enter the other.
In this view, the author says, public action has difficulties that are all the greater given that the economic and commercial issues these industries face seem more significant. It must, among other things, resolve the existing contradiction between the concern of maintaining production structure diversity in the national framework and defending, around the world, a cultural uniqueness brought about by powerful national players in a globalized economy.
In conclusion, the author states that by placing emphasis on the considerable weight of the players’ economic strategies and industrial dynamics, his analysis of cultural industries shows the weight of forms and configurations that bypass national realities and regulations. Therein lies the need for public debates to ensure the confrontation of action logics that largely escape traditional regulations and to develop approaches that take into account the complex reality of cultural economics.