IGF 2019 WS #244 Inclusion & Representation: Enabling Local Content growth

Organizer 1: Bertrand Mouillier, International Federation of Film Producers Association [FIAPF]
Organizer 2: Sigrun Neisen, Deutsche Welle Akademie
Organizer 3: Schwarz Mathias, Producentenallianz
Organizer 4: LANTERI Paolo, World Intellectual Property Organization
Organizer 5: Victor Owade, WIPO

Speaker 1: Vanessa Sinden, Private Sector, Africa
Speaker 2: Sarika Lakhani, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Sigrun Neisen, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Santiago Schuster Vergara, Civil Society, GRULAC


Victor Owade, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group

Online Moderator

Bertrand Mouillier, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Schwarz Mathias, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

This workshop will examine how locally relevant content can be best supported through a wide array of various creative programmes, initiatives, and incentives. Additionally, the workshop will look at how locally relevant content can facilitate Internet adoption and digital inclusion by creating meaningful online spaces for communities. Local content often thrives in enabling environments that have the appropriate policy measures and services. This workshop will explore the following questions: • What type of policy environment is needed to support locally relevant content? • What are examples of successful programmes and initiatives that have supported a local content ecosystem? • What are the barriers to supporting local content? • How can supporting local content help drive Internet connectivity and adoption? • How can developing countries successfully establish flourishing local content ecosystems? Additionally, how can developing countries ensure that those local content ecosystems are sustainable?


GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

Description: The goal of our panel on local content is to demonstrate through examples of local and global best practice how local content can be supported through a wide array of creative programmes and economic incentives. There are numerous examples of policies, projects, and initiatives from all parts of the world that demonstrate how governments and stakeholder programmes can help bring about an enabling environment for the development of a sustainable local content sector, including both commercial and public service offerings. Our panel speakers will highlight how they are contributing to the local content ecosystems in their respective countries/regions. They will also share their insights and suggestions as to the forms of Internet regulation which would best deliver a diverse, affordable, and sustainable availability of local content. Local content is best promoted in enabling environments that have the appropriate policy measures and services. An enabling environment that facilitates, encourages and stimulates the development of locally relevant online content and services depends on different factors. These factors include the ability to monetize local content and services where appropriate, and related issues such as the digital literacy and skills of locals, IP and copyright, and payment systems, and the infrastructure for Internet access and local content distribution, which include the availability of broadband, local hosting and Internet exchange points. We have been able to attract speakers from different regions and stakeholder groups to discuss why they believe local content is important and how they have creatively supported it through their professional or voluntary work. Additionally, we want to demonstrate that measures to support local content need not be restrictive ones – there are ways to implement policies that incentivize the production of quality content and support the growth of the local creative infrastructure. This includes discovering and nurturing local talent, promoting skills capabilities, developing local stories (or locally relevant educational content) and using local locations. In particular, the panelists will be encouraged to discuss the ways in which a “virtuous cycle” related to local content can be engineered, i.e., increasing locally relevant content of a good quality standard in turn leads to increased investment in the local creative economy as a whole, which also drives investment in the Internet delivery infrastructure and improves its reliability. The workshop will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about various creative programmes and policies that support the local creative economy, through the accounts of speakers with considerable local experience of developing sustainable content production and distribution systems. Discussion during the panel will be facilitated by a moderator who will ensure that all speakers are able to speak about their diverse experiences and give specific recommendations that the audience can learn from. There will be a 30-minute Q&A session following the hour-long panel. During IGF (possibly on the same evening of the day in which the workshop is to be held), the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) will hold a reception and film event showcasing a local work from the country of one of the speakers on the panel. Last year at IGF 2018, to highlight importance of local content, FIAPF held an event that showcased the Nigerian film, Kasala. Its director, Ms. Ema Edosio presented the film and talked about her experience in developing the original screenplay and creating a film that authentically reflects the experience of many urban youth in Lagos, Nigeria’s teeming capital. Over 150 IGF attendees, including about 40 IGF Youth, attended the film event and reception. Given the success of the IGF 2018 film event, for IGF 2019, FIAPF is planning to hold a similar event and to showcase another film from a developing country where local content has been on the rise and is facing structural challenges to achieve long term sustainability. The discussion at the panel will prepare attendees for the film presentation by highlighting both the importance of locally relevant content and the obstacles (economic, legal, regulatory, infrastructural, etc.) that must be overcome in order to secure its ongoing growth.

Expected Outcomes: The outcome of the this panel will be that attendees will learn from a wide range of stakeholders on why local content is important and will gain valuable insights on how it can be economically and creatively bolstered through well-conceived policies and projects. Another outcome of the session is that other governments, especially those who are interested in learning how to support both local content and Internet growth in their countries, can learn from the experiences of the Singaporean government’s training and content investment boot camp as well as the Chilean agency for the local film sector’s growth and development. Of particular relevance to this strand of outcome will be the question of how to devise an enabling regulatory/incentive apparatus that makes it easier for local content producers and platforms to attain economic sustainability in the face of global competition for Internet users’ attention and use.

The moderator will work with the co-organizers and speakers before the IGF to ensure that discussion points, questions, flow, and timing are established. Speakers will be directed to focus on no more than three key points to ensure that the 90-minute time limit is respected and that there is ample time for Q&A. The moderator will allocate 30 minutes of Q&A for the audience to participate and ask the panelists any questions. To help ease interaction and maintain a flow of dialogue, before the panel, a few on-site discussants will be prepared to ask questions that can help initiate participant discussion and kindle further audience engagement. Additionally, a short trailer of the film from the director on the panel, which will be shown at IGF 2019 at a separate event, will be shown to the audience. The moderator will also encourage remote participants to engage in the dialogue and ask questions – this will be facilitated through a pre-engagement outreach phase to participants, especially those from emerging economics. During the panel, online questions will be managed by the online moderator and questions from the both the online queue and in-person queue will be rotated. The online moderator will be encouraged to participate in pre-IGF training sessions to ensure that online participants are effectively engaged during the panel.

Relevance to Theme: Fostering digital inclusion requires considering how locally relevant content can help develop the demand side of Internet adoption. As the IGF’s Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion - Phase II (CENB II) highlights, meaningful access to the Internet requires ensuring that people can both consume and produce content, and that “access inequalities and barriers like content availability not only affect those in developing countries more profoundly, but also those in rural areas as well as cultural minorities, women, refugees, and disadvantaged groups.” The availability of local content helps increase the willingness of people to seek out the online space and creates more meaningful online access. If we want to build an Internet that is more inclusive, we need to ensure that the content that is available is relevant to all consumers from all countries. As the IGF Best Practice Forum on Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in 2015 and 2016 highlights, there is a two-way relation between local content and the growth and development of IXPs and the local Internet Infrastructure, which ultimately contributes to a higher quality and more affordable local Internet. We cannot discuss digital inclusion and Internet growth without also discussing local content.

Relevance to Internet Governance: One of the goals of effective Internet governance is to help ensure that the Internet flourishes and has value to those who use it. The production and the dissemination of local content is tied to the development of the Internet. Frequently, when discussing Internet governance, the topics of access and cost arise. However, access and cost are only two of three factors affecting Internet growth – the third one is the availability of locally relevant content and services. Having content that is in a language that is understood by the local population and deals with matters of local interest can help lead to Internet growth, especially in developing countries. Content that is both relevant and appealing is what drives new Internet uptake by individuals and communities alike. Consequently, there is a strategic imperative for Internet governance that favours the emergence and development of cultural and linguistic diversity.

Online Participation

We are planning to advertise the workshop broadly across the wide of stakeholders with whom each of our organisations (as co-organisers) are networked, from private sector content producers and platforms, to government regulators and civil society colleagues. Deutsche Welle Akademie (DWA) and FIAPF have extensive international networks of complementary nature and the Produzentenallianz will reach to the German audiovisual content community in Germany and internationally to spread awareness about the panel and its remote participation option. We will also use this tool to complement the perspectives of our panel speakers with one (or more) remote contributions, e.g. a case study of local content conceived/produced/streamed by young people.

Proposed Additional Tools: We are planning to run short audio and/or video excerpts/trailers of a range of culturally-relevant local content to attendees, in order to make the object of our discussions more tangible to participants.

1. Key Policy Questions and Expectations

A rich offer of local professional film, video, music and related cultural content has been proven to be a powerful driver of local demand for Internet connectivity and adoption. With this well documented context in mind, Workshop #244 explored the following key questions:

1) What type of policy environment is needed to support locally relevant content?

2) What are recent examples of successful programmes and initiatives that have supported a local content ecosystem?

3) How can developing countries successfully establish flourishing local content ecosystems? Additionally, how can developing countries ensure that those local content ecosystems are sustainable?

2. Summary of Issues Discussed

1) There are significant contrasts between the existence of rich pools of local talent on the one hand, and lacks in enabling policies, incentives and infrastructures in many countries. The case studies presented by the audiovisual panellists focused on attempts to develop best practice through projects designed to address such gaps. These included addressing the lack of representation of women as writers and directors of audiovisual content in the African Continent and developing opportunities for locals to professionalise film and TV production skills

2) For music, the main issue is with securing the inclusion of local content in its own markets and in global market offers. The role of a generation of new content publishers in music, with the skills to use digital technology to give local musicians both a local and a global reach, is an important development.

3) The issue of content being consumed without rights holders' authorisation led to observations by the audiovisual experts on the panel that the growing success of streaming video Internet platforms has begun to make the idea of paying for content on the Internet (e.g. through subscription) culturally acceptable.

4) The issue of ensuring local languages are represented and utilised in local content production was also discussed. There was consensus that this is an important component in considering empowerment strategies for the whole variety of local content.

5) The discussions also considered the roles of alternative forms of copyright licensing. Discussants held such forms of licensing made a useful contribution to the range of legal tools available to creators and producers of content: the freedom of individual artists or composers to choose between a monetizing option or a different form of licensing should be the guiding principle

3. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward

Panellists agreed over the need to address a) gaps in capacity building to enable local content creators and producers to produce sustainably and to b) access distribution systems that ensure content may connect with audiences, local and global.

Audiovisual panellists said State incentives help remedy market failure factors for local content: tools such as coproduction treaties or tax incentives are seen as appropriate ones to help fill the skills gap in local content production workers and enhance opportunities for job creation and innovation in both production and distribution

Incentives may help buffer concern the participation of under-represented voices and cultural tropes. E.g. Case studies from Africa illustrated initiatives give African women more purchase on audiovisual content conception and production, through initiatives such as StoryLab which trains and empowers African female scriptwriters and a film school exclusively for women, set to open on Lagos

Regarding the music sector, the expert presented projects in Latin America to secure the inclusion of local music in local and global Internet offers. Music in the region is made more sustainable by a new approach combining live concerts with Internet video streams. Copyright supports these developments, with collecting societies monitoring such uses and collecting royalties.

4. Other Initiatives Addressing the Session Issues


  1. SCD concert halls in Chile and Autores In Vivo in Uruguay both create organic links between live concerts and Internet presence. Musicians perform in small concert venues and performances are video-recorded and uploaded. Artists participate actively in extending the presence of their content online.
  2. Since 2008, One Fine Day films managed the production of seven feature films in Kenya. The project has the support of the Deutsche Welle Akademie, a strategic partner of the German Ministry of Foreign Cooperation. The films are local stories developed by local talent. They were made to an international standard, and conceived as a live film school for a range of local technicians, and creators. One of the films, Nairobi Half Life, was released in cinemas in Kenya and has been the most successful Kenyan film to date. The films have since had a second life on OTT platforms.
  3. In 2015, Triggerfish Animation, one of the largest animation film studios in South Africa, launched Story Lab. The programme consisted in a pan-African call for projects from women. 35 projects were selected for development. One of those, Mama K’s Team 4 is currently in production as a series, with financial support from Netflix.


5. Making Progress for Tackled Issues


  1. The high cost of producing local audiovisual content calls for more State incentives and enabling regulation (e.g. lower tax on the import of film equipment) – this is IGF-relevant: such forms of State intervention should be seen as integral to Internet growth: local content drives demand for online services
  2. Schemes to empower women into the audiovisual content production process are needed to correct under-representation and gender bias – also relevant to general focus of IGF
  3. The increase in online consumption from legal sites and platforms that respect creators and producers’ copyright is helping develop a new acceptance that content needs to be sourced legally and paid for – relevant to IGF ecosystem: copyright is integral to local content sustainability
  4. For local music content, the Internet is fast becoming integrated into live concert strategies as a means of extending its reach and attracting users and listeners beyond local/national borders.
6. Estimated Participation

Onsite participants: 65 at peak

Online participants: not known

Estimated 35 women out of 65 onsite participants


7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Gender issues were at the core of the session. Amongst some of the structural gaps identified by discussants was the under-representation of women in some local content industries. Best practice in addressing gender bias was presented  and discussed. They included the animation studio Triggerfish’s Story Lab initiative, designed to bring African women in as writers and show-runners for animated series with the new Internet platforms as the market. Other best practice investigated were plans for a women-only film school in Lagos, with the support of the Deutsche Welle Akademie.

8. Session Outputs

The session’s Powerpoint may be access from the following link:


Sesssion organisers will make a running summary note of the session available by the end of 2019.