Satellite account for culture and media 2018

1. Introduction

In 2019, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science commissioned Statistics Netherlands (CBS) to compile the first-ever satellite account for culture and media.1)  A satellite account is an economic description of a specific phenomenon linked to and distilled from the national accounts. The national accounts provide the quantitative description of the Dutch economy as a whole. A satellite account makes it possible to determine the share of culture and media in the main macroeconomic figures, such as GDP, imports and exports and consumer spending.
In addition, within the culture and media sector itself, a level of detail has been applied to reveal which goods, services and industries within the sector are of greater or lesser economic importance. The goods and services that are counted as culture and media are also categorised into domains, such as Literature, Performing arts and Heritage, facilitating a comparison of the economic size of the various domains. This division into domains is more in line with common practice in the field than the standard divisions of goods, services and branches of industry used in the national accounts. The classification of goods, services and branches of industry used in this publication is set out in Appendices 1 and 2.

What is culture and media?

When compiling a satellite account for culture and media, we must first establish what counts as culture and media. This satellite account defines culture and media in terms of goods and services, according to the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA).2) In the first instance this relates to the primary cultural and media products, roughly in line with the definitions provided by the EU (ESSnet-Culture) and UNESCO. At the core of this definition are the attributes of creation, artistic creation, cultural expression and the management and conservation of heritage. CBS has formulated a set of additional guidelines that identify the extent to which the satellite account should include supporting goods and services further along the cultural and media production and distribution chain. There is less similarity between the approaches of the EU and UNESCO on this point. The guidelines formulated by CBS are worded as follows:

Cultural and media products include not only all primary cultural and media products themselves (based on the values of ‘creation’ and ‘cultural expression’), but also those goods and services which would not exist without these primary cultural and media products.

Some examples of primary cultural and media products are museum and library services, books, architectural services, advertisements, radio and television programmes, theatre productions, online games and photography. Examples of supporting cultural and media products include musical instruments, cameras, radios and television sets and machines for binding and printing books. That being the case, in this satellite account, culture and media include not only traditional culture (museums, libraries, performing arts, etc.) but also the media (radio, TV, newspapers and periodicals, etc.) and large sections of the creative industry (architecture, design, advertising, etc.).

Finally, some goods and services have been included which are not really cultural or media products in themselves but which are inextricably linked to culture and media, such as shops and cafés in museums and investments in museum buildings.
Appendix 1 gives a detailed account of which goods and services are counted as culture and media, including the complete list of these goods and services and the domain and subdomain to which they belong.

Changes from the first edition

In addition to the revised figures for the 2015 national accounts (see the box in Chapter 2), this satellite account for culture and media is slightly different from the first edition. The classification now distinguishes between three branches of industry that are relevant to culture and media: 1) Film and TV production; sound recording; 2) Programming and broadcasting activities; and 3) Design, photography and translation. The first edition combined the first two branches, but they are now identified separately in line with the national accounts. In the first edition, the third branch was still included with other branches of industry, but because of its relevance to culture and media it is now recorded separately.

1.1 Table of cultural and media product domains and subdomains - 2018 edition
Performing artsPerforming arts
Visual artsPhotography
Other visual arts
Other literature
MediaNewspapers and periodicals
Radio, TV
AudiovisualFilm and video
Other audiovisual
Architecture and designArchitecture
Interdisciplinary and otherInterdisciplinary and other

A domain of Media has also been created, consisting of the subdomains Newspapers and periodicals and Radio and TV. These subdomains already existed, but now they are grouped differently: Newspapers and periodicals have been transferred from Literature to Media, and Radio and TV have been moved from Audiovisual to Media. The underlying classification of which cultural and media products belong to which domain and subdomain remains the same.

Apart from the revision of the national accounts, which, in addition to methodological adjustments, often involves updating earlier estimates of the supply and use of the various goods and services, the sources, definitions and working methods used in this satellite account are similar to those of the first edition.

Reading guide

Chapter 2 describes how culture and media contribute to key macroeconomic figures relating to the Dutch economy.
Chapter 3 explores the culture and media sector itself in greater depth, creating a picture of the most important cultural and media products and the relevant branches of industry. This chapter also describes the main economic figures and characteristics for each domain and subdomain.
Chapter 4 deals with government spending on culture and media, and in Chapter 5 the results of the present satellite account for culture and media are compared with similar work in other countries.

More detailed explanations of what counts as culture and media and how a satellite account is created can be found in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 respectively.

The detailed tables containing virtually all the underlying figures on which this report is based are also attached.

1) See: Satellite account for culture and media 2015 (
2) Classification of Products by Activity, 2008 edition. See: CPA 2008 - CPA - Eurostat (