The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) has introduced a new database on international trade of cultural goods and updated its global database on feature films. For the first time, the UIS has published time series data on the international trade of cultural goods in the global database. The data span from 2004 to 2017.

Disaggregated by cultural sub-sector, the internationally-comparable trade data can be used to help monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, SDG Target 17.11 calls to “significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries' share of global exports by 2020”. The newly-published data show that the global trade in merchandise has stagnated since 2011, but the slowdown began even earlier in least developed countries. From 2004 to 2007, the share of world exports of cultural goods increased from 0.5% to 0.8% in least developed countries, falling back to 0.5% in 2017, the same share that was seen in 2004.

Explore the database on international trade of cultural goods

The UIS global database on cinema

This update also includes more timely data on feature films. The database offers a unique perspective on the diversity of the film industry, with indicators covering a range of issues – from the languages of films to market shares and the countries involved in co-productions. These indicators and data relate directly to the mandate and aims of the UNESCO 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which advocates for more balanced global market shares and distribution of cultural and creative industries like films produced in developing countries.

UIS data on cinema can be used for key facts to highlight the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages. According to the data, about 11 countries produced at least one movie in a native language in 2017. In particular, Mexico produced a movie in Zapotec; Algeria and Morocco produced two movies in Amazigh; and Australia and Venezuela each produced a movie in aboriginal languages.

Figure 1 presents the countries, which produce the largest number of films in different languages. India continues to be the top producer, with almost 2,000 movies in 2017, two-thirds of which were in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali.

Figure 1. Main language used in film production by country, 2016-2017  

Explore the database on feature films