Design and Creative Services

The ‘creative industries’ is also referred to as the ‘creative and cultural industries‘ or the ‘creative and digital industries‘ or the ‘creative industry‘ within the ‘creative economy‘. At some point they were referred to as the “Sun Rise Industries”. Most recently they have been called the ‘Orange Economy‘ (La Economía Naranja) in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Much as the terminology can be confusing, broadly speaking, the term ‘creative industries’ refers to a range of economic activities that are concerned with the generation and commercialization of creativity, ideas, knowledge and information.


In a nutshell the ‘creative industries’ are businesses with creativity at their heart. There are thirteen sub-sectors under the term ‘creative industries’ and these are: advertising; architecture; the art and antiques market; crafts; design; designer fashion; film and video; interactive leisure software; music; the performing arts; publishing; software and computer games; and television and radio.


The term ‘cultural industries’ is also used by some agencies, though this term relates to a more specific range of industries and can be regarded as a subset of the creative industries. The cultural industries are defined by UNESCO as ‘industries that combine the creation, production and commercialization of contents which are intangible and cultural in nature; these contents are typically protected by copyright and they can take the form of a good or a service.’


Malawi’s Creative Industries Profiles


Film making starts with an idea for the film which comes from inspiration. This inspiration can come from magazines, books, other films and everything around us. The idea now has to be turned into a script so the producer needs to pitch and persuade the idea in order to get the money to start production. With the development finance secured it is down to the writer to create a synopsis of the script that the financiers and producers approve of. Now that the script is complete the director and producer decide how they want to film the movie and who they will take on to help them them do this. To make the movie appeal more to audiences many producers and directors employ well – known Malawian stars such as Joyce Chavula.


As Financiers can be anywhere around the world, the producer has to travel around to secure the investment they need to make the film. With the financing secured, the full cast and crew are hired and the detailed preperation for the shoot begins. Once all the heads of department are hired, the shooting script is circulated and pre – production begins. Shooting begins and funding is released. This is the key stage in film making. As the processed footage comes in, the editor turns it into scenes and assembles it together. The producer is still trying to sell the movie/film whilst it’s still in the post production stage. In order to sell the product to the public they need a distributor. The producer employs a sales agent to help sell the product to the public. The marketing team run test screenings to see how the film is received by the public.  A high profile premier is used to launch the film to the public with a lot of media coverage. A successful run in the cinemas can lead to DVD releases, videos and games etc.


The above process can be categorized into four stages of the film production chain namely: Production, Distribution, Marketing and Exhibition. The Production stage can be split into three sub-stages of pre-production, production and post-production. During the pre-production stage all the planning for the film is created. This stage includes the organisation of individual scenes, props, cast members, locations, costumes, special effects and visual effects. The script is either written at this stage or before hand. A schedule is also made during pre-production. During the production stage all the scenes that were created during pre-production are now filmed as many times as possible in order to get the best take. These scenes are filmed at the planned locations. The filming must be correct and complete at this stage otherwise it is difficult to repeat events when it comes to the post production stage. The post-production stage is where the editing of footage, music, graphics, sound, special FX and menus etc are added onto the production of the film. The editor produces a rough cut. The purpose of the rough cut is to pick and order the best shots from all the rest. The second step is the process of the fine cut whereby the editor edits the shots to transition and flow smoothly into a story. Thirdly the editor then trims the scenes by either a few minutes, seconds, or frames. The picture is then locked (no further changes are made) once the final edit has been played to and approved by the director and producer.








Film distributors, producers and sales agents distribute films. The traditional ways of distributing a film are:

  1. Once the film has been made, distributors start planning on how they are going to release the film.
  2. Screenings of the film in cinemas are secured.
  3. The distributors create a buzz about the film and create a lot of media coverage based around the film.
  4. A few days before the film release the cinema receives the film and classification of the film on a disk.
  5. The film is then played in the cinemas for the specific amount of time that has been agreed upon. If the movie is in high demand,the time may be extended.

A more modern way of distributing films would be through E-media. For example, e-mails and shared files. This would be effective when the distributors send the hard copy of the film days before the release. Instead they’d be able to send the film electronically which is faster and costs less.


Film Festivals are events where films are presented in one or more cinemas or screening venues ( such as Somerset house outdoor cinema). Film festivals are usually concentrated in a single city or region.


Film festivals’ role in film distribution is to create a buzz about the film and exhibit the film to a wider audience. This in turn also creates a buzz as more people have seen the film and will converse about it to others.

A film distributor may decide to release a film on the same day as another film that they may consider as competition in order to outshine the opposing film and gain more viewers.


Distribution is essential to the film industry because it is where completed films are brought to life and connected with an audience. If a film cannot secure a distribution deal it would end up losing a lot of money as there won’t be much of a buzz about the film which is needed in order for the film to gain an audience.

Marketing is the advertisement and promotion of a product that is being sold or is in the process of being sold to the public. Film marketing works in coordination with film distribution.


The difference between Marketing and Distribution is that marketing is the process of selling the product whereas distribution is exhibiting the product to different audiences on different media platforms.


Ways of distributing films today include:

  • TV
  • Cinema
  • On demand catch up services
  • Skype
  • Apps on iphones, Androids, ipads and tablets
  • Itunes
  • Youtube
  • Smart TV/ Apple TV
  • Whatsap



In Malawi however, the film industry is still very young and there are few filmmaking, marketing and distribution companies. The Film Association has been working to encourage filmmakers and developed a film production strategy for Malawi in 2015. Since then, there has been a marked increase in local production of films with releases increasing from 5 to 20 per annum in the past two years.  The main producers of film in Malawi include Shemu Joya, Ezaius Mkandawire and Joyce Chavula. For detailed list see the database.


The music industry can be defined as the industry representative of firms that record, produce, publish, distribute, and market music. The process begins with the talent pool which includes artists, producers, composers, ghostwriters, among others. These artists are then contracted to a record label to produce music recordings. Sony BMG, Universal, Warner and EMI are examples of large international music companies that own smaller record labels. The rest of the record label industry is made up of independent labels. Only the independent record labels can be found in Malawi such as OG Electronics, Nyimbo Music and Ujeni Music to mention the known ones.

Record labels add to the artist’s product by augmenting it with marketing campaigns, promotions, concerts, and most importantly, access to and bargaining power with distributors. Artists often find it beneficial to leverage the resources of a record label in order to reserve shelf-space amongst retailers. However in Malawi artists can be seen selling their own music on the street due to inadequacy of record label and mistrust of the existing few.  OG Electronics and Peoples Express shops are probably the largest brick and mortar (versus digital) music retailers. Finally, the music is finally delivered to the end-user or the consumer. Though there are many separate steps in the value chain, many record labels and music groups participate in several of these stages. For instance, OG Electronics may enter into a contract with an artist, then publish, manufacture, and distribute that artist’s work. Please see the diagram below for a view on how players within the music industry interact. For digital retailers there will be no manufacturers and distributors as this is done on line.  See the database for players on each stage of the value chain.