The Ministry of Culture outlined details and plans on Feb. 23 for its Cultural Content Investment Project, which has been granted a funding of NT$6 billion by the National Development Fund.
To increase effectiveness of investment in cultural content, the Ministry proposed the new Cultural Content Investment Project (文化內容投資計畫) to the National Development Fund, which later agreed to allocate NT$6 billion on Feb. 1. Meanwhile, the Ministry’s budget for the existing Cultural and Creative Investment Two-Phase Program (文創投資一、二期計畫) will be adjusted to NT$4 billion to continue investment in the cultural and creative industry.
Between the two programs, the budget totaling NT$10 billion includes grants and financial commitments to culture-related techniques, products, or services in the audiovisual, publishing, and ACG (anime, comics, and games) sectors.
In addition, the Cultural Content Investment Project will soften restrictions and modify the existing mutual investment model used by the Cultural and Creative Investment Two-Phase Program to encourage finance holding companies, start-up ventures, e-commerce platforms, and distributors that invest in cultural content to cooperate with the Ministry in boosting private investments.
Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun has been actively pushing for the transformation of policies guiding cultural content development, and looks forward to expanding the market through offering grants and financing since she took office.
Regarding grants, the Ministry also has the Flagship Program for the Application of Cultural Content in Technology and Innovation (文化內容科技應用創新產業領航旗艦計畫) to support the development of original content, including a NT$4.18-billion commitment over four years to produce high-quality television content and foster interdisciplinary projects.
In terms of financing, Minister Cheng had pledged to allocate NT$6 billion from the National Development Fund to support the audiovisual industry last year. With investment pouring in, six companies invested by the Ministry have since been listed on the stock market. Another eight companies are applying to join the stock exchange under the guidance of the Ministry.
The profit figures from cultural and creative investment also demonstrate a positive performance. In 2017, cash dividends were paid out by eight invested companies, and about 60% of the companies held surplus in the second phase of the Ministry’s investment. For the eight completed cases, the overall return on equity ratio was over 12%.
For instance, four companies invested by the Ministry had won a total of eleven awards at the 54th Golden Horse Awards, with “The Great Buddha+ (大佛普拉斯)” and “The Bold, The Corrupt And The Beautiful (血觀音)” taking nine prizes in total.
Moreover, an Audiovisual Financing Professional Cooperation Office (影視投融資專業協力辦公室) was established by the Ministry last April to structure a financial system for cultural content, including opening training courses on financing and constructing an evaluation system for intangible assets.
The office is also responsible for offering assistance to improve financial plans and gather private investment. So far, the office has handled about 80 content production cases.
Regarding financing, the success rate for obtaining loans issued by credit guarantee funds can increase to 8% under the support of the Ministry. In 2017, nineteen credit loans totaling NT$213 million applied by audiovisual companies were approved and subsequently received subsidies from the Ministry. Cases commissioned by the Public Television Service have also secured funds with the help of the Ministry.
Investment programs, on the other hand, have successfully attracted NT$1 billion for the audiovisual industry. In the future, the office will be elevated to the “Professional Cooperation Office for Financing the Cultural Content Industry” to actively look for investors and procure financial solutions. Furthermore, a service-matching platform for cultural content will be added to the Cultural Content Investment Project this April.
In addition, the draft establishment act for the Cultural Content Institute (文化內容策進院) has been reviewed by the Executive Yuan and is now pending approval from the Legislative Yuan. Once the institute is established, more people will be recruited to join the Audiovisual Financing Professional Cooperation Office.
Following the National Development Fund’s agreement with the principles of the Cultural Content Investment Project on Feb. 1, regulations and guidelines governing the project will be published at the end of April after further adjustments and confirmations are made. Read the original Chinese press release here.