THE GROWTH of the creative economy was stunted during the pandemic as entertainment industry operations either stopped or slowed down, the Department of Trade and Industry said.

Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba cited international data identifying Philippine creative services exports as the largest within ASEAN, which she said was generated mainly by the information technology and computer services segments.

“At the time when our creative industries have been gaining growth momentum, the pandemic hit us and as a result the creative sectors have been badly affected,” she said at an online event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines on Thursday.

While movie theaters shut down and live events had to be cancelled, the animation and game development sectors suffered a dip in productivity and revenue due to cancelled contracts, she said.

The Creative Economy Council of the Philippines said that the industry sustained a 90% decrease in revenue compared to 2019.

Crowd-sourcing platform recorded more than P268 million in lost income from creative-sector workers as of June.

But she also said that digitalization created new opportunities for creative-industry work.

“One silver lining is the crisis has actually accelerated the rapid digitalization of the economy and this reinforced trends, opened new opportunities for the creative industry,” she said.

Digital platforms have made content production cheaper, for example, for creatives who are now able to access a global market.

Ms. Aldaba added that the Philippines must address constraints to industry expansion, including high costs in the film and gaming sectors, low levels of investment, and a Philippine bias for imported creative goods. — Jenina P. Ibañez