Sectors of the creative industries

Over decades, the history of Slovak cinematography was logically connected with the cinematography of higher state units to which Slovakia belonged since the days of film art. It recorded a systematic development after 1948, when the state, under centralized supervision, built movie studios, laboratories, and archives, which had the necessary technology to ensure systematic audiovisual creation in all categories. In 1989, in Slovakia, there was a relatively advanced audiovisual base – technological, professional and educational.
The decomposition of the centralised system of the state cinematography since 1989 has brought the need to redefine the economic and production relations in filmmaking and public television. The foundation of the Audiovisual Fund (AVF) in 2009, the financing of which combines state resources (contributions from the state budget) and contributions from private entities (broadcasters, operators of retransmission, distributors, and operators of cinema houses) meant a significant boost for the Slovak audiovisual industry, which was noticed in the rise of film production and distribution.
In the years 1993 to 2012, in Slovakia, 78 full-length films were produced for cinemas, including 57 feature films and 21 documentaries, and 49 films were co-produced with the Czech Republic, with the Slovak minority financial share of film-making, which totalled to 127 full-length movies. In 2006, no full-length film was made in Slovakia, and in 2012, eight films were produced; in 2009 and 2011, seven feature movies were produced each year. In 2009, most of the co-production films with a minor Slovak financial share of film-making – eight – were produced. Most cinema movies, together the films of the companies own production and the films with a minor proportion of funding – eighteen – came to cinemas in 2009 and 2012.
It follows that the Audiovisual Fund as a primary provider of funds and the initiator of creation plays the principal role in the audiovisual sector. The Audiovisual Fund has been carrying out support activities since 2010. As an independent public institution established by a particular law, it is the primary source of financial assistance in the audiovisual industry in the Slovak Republic. Its aim is to foster all part of the process of filmmaking, production and distribution, film festivals, education, technical research, editorial activities and technological development, particularly in the field of digitisation of cinemas. The financial resources of the Fund consist of the contribution from the state budget and from entities using audiovisual works in their business activities: the broadcaster in the public interest (5% of advertising revenue), private television broadcasters (2% of advertising revenue), cinemas (0.03 EUR from every ticket sold), distributors of audiovisual works (1% of income from distribution outside cinemas), and operators of retransmission (1% of revenues from retransmission).
The key role is played by RTVS, which not only generates a demand for audiovisual productions of different types, but also creates (or should create) a framework for original production, co-production and television distribution of original works and fulfils an educational and benchmarking role. Economically important entities are private televisions (Markíza, JOJ) as entities ordering audiovisual production.
Also, the Slovak Film Institute, which concentrates, preserves, and protects film and other audiovisual works and documentary materials and makes them available to the public, plays an important role. It is the administrator of the film archive consisting of all cinematographic works filmed in Slovakia. The Slovak Film Institute also exercises the producer’s rights to Slovak films produced by the organisations falling within the exclusive competence of the state and increases the value of these rights by its economic activities.
Production companies and individuals in Slovakia are grouped into several associations, while several of them are also active outside these associations. The oldest organisation – Slovak Audiovisual Producers’ Association (SAPA) – covers some major producing entities such as Trigon Production, ALEF Film and Media Group, the Slovak Film Institute and others. SAPA is also the organisation collectively administering the rights of producers. Currently, the Association of Independent Producers ( has eighteen members and represents 90% of the films, which were co-distributed in Slovakia in recent years. Nowadays, the Association of Animated Film Producers ( has nine members and promotes the interests of producers of animated films.

The publishing industry belongs to one of the relatively consolidated sectors of the Slovak Republic with a stable number of employees and a share of total gross domestic product (GDP). There are totally 4,217 economic entities in this sector with 7,160 employees (2011).

Number of employees (including self-employed persons) by region

Source: Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic

The publishing industry consists of two main sub-sectors – newspaper and magazine (periodicals) publishing and book (non-periodical publications) publishing. These sub-sectors have a different internal structure and economic cycle.

Newspaper and Magazine Publishing
After 1989, with market liberalization, some new periodicals, newspapers and magazines were released. Whether they were established as a result of a transformation of former state publishing houses or as new entrants, initially they were mainly independent publishing entities dealing with the publishing of one periodical. Later, the publishers began to create portfolios of titles, initially mostly focused thematically (children and youth, lifestyle, etc.). The situation in the market, the advent of digital media and the economic crisis gradually encouraged the acquisition activities of print media owners, which resulted in the creation of large publishing houses owning a broad portfolio of publishing products, including printed and digital media, as well as technology and distribution facilities. Compared with smaller publishers, the competitive advantage of publishing houses is, in particular, the possibility of spreading fixed costs among the distinct entities and balancing gains and losses within the portfolio.
The advent of digital media caused a fundamental change in the overall publishing philosophy in the newspaper and magazine segment. Profits are gradually shifting to different types of revenues from online advertising and services up to online editing. Different profiling of online platforms of large publishing houses can be observed on the market.

Book Publishing
The book publishing cycle includes several types of entities:

  • Publishers,
  • Distributors,
  • Booksellers,
  • Libraries.

The publishing segment in Slovakia consists of about ten major publishers of fiction and professional literature. Regarding the number of publications issued, university publishing houses compete with them, but regarding the market, they do not have any significant importance. The characteristic and the particular feature of this market is a significant segment of Czech books.

Number of publishers
Number of publishers
Source: KULT Statistics of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic

The international art trade, concerning art and antiques, can be nowadays understood as the other sector of industry or a machine whose primary goal is to develop and confirm the price of works of art on the market by their resale. The art trade is inherently a transnational phenomenon and is carried out within a global market.
Based on the study Art Market in Slovakia (the conditions of its origin and form of operation after 1989) by Nina Gažovičová, we can say that the subject of the trade with the art works in our region is most often visual arts (paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, statues). To a lesser extent, it is antiques (glass, porcelain, ceramics, and furniture) and design. In the current situation, the “minority” art disciplines such as photography, drawing, and graphics, find themselves at the edge of the commercial offer, although, in recent years, we have seen pioneering activities in these minority market segments. There are communities of specialised collectors (coins, postcards, and stamps), acting more on the basis of exchange meetings, direct purchases, or specialized exchanges.
Main Stakeholders:

  • Galleries and museums;
  • Agents, dealers, and gallerists;
  • Auction companies;
  • Critics, professionals, and experts;
  • Collectors.

According to estimates by experts, the annual turnover of auctions in Slovakia (more than 10 million EUR) accounts for only about 20 to 30% of the real art market in Slovakia (without direct acquisitions of galleries). The rest is a hardly mappable grey zone of direct sales of studios and other commercial transactions.
The hallmark of the Slovak market is the fact that contemporary art accounts for about 3% of the real art market (even after a significant decline in recent years, the European average is still about 7%), which affects the nature of the market, price ratio, as well as the international credit and the sale of Slovak works. The Slovak National Gallery and regional galleries receive funds for the purchase of works from public sources (direct subsidies and grants). These purchases account for about 5% of the mappable art market; the rest are private acquisitions.

For this analysis, the performing arts include, in particular, the theatre, dance, and opera (opera-concert) activities that enter the market with their products. Activities mentioned in this part mingle to some extent with the activities falling into the music industry (especially concert performances of musical and theatrical genres, such as opera, operetta and musical).
The historical process of the emergence of theatre in Slovakia and, in particular, the development after 1989 caused the performing arts sector to sharply divide into two areas with a different function resulting from the way of the establishment and financing of particular institutions. The first area consists of the institutions founded by the state administration or local governments, which have the status of organisations subsidised by the state administration or local governments and are directly financed by their founders. Especially the so-called “armorial” cultural institutions – namely those that guarantee the highest quality of production and preservation of cultural values fall into the direct establishing competence of the state (the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic). Similarly, also scenic institutions founded by local governments, which fell into their competence through the process of the decentralisation of state administration that took place at the end of the nineties. The purpose of their location is the regional coverage of different types of public cultural institutions. All these institutions are established stages, managing their buildings and creating cyclic repertoires.
The other part of the spectrum of players in this sector is private theatres and stage groups which, in the vast majority, operate as non-profit organisations, and a smaller part of them as companies (limited liability companies – s.r.o.). Their income comes from subsidies from public funds and revenues from ticket sales and other activities. Some of them administer buildings (rent, ownership) and have a permanent stage, but more work on the agency’s principle (temporarily rent, touring, etc.). Some, by contrast, are only spaces creating dramaturgy in cooperation with other entities. In the recent years, multifunctional cultural centres occurred where the performance activity is only part of their assets. Only a few large ensembles working on the principle of repertoire, most work on the project basis of individual productions and presentations.
Other important market segments are event and art agencies and production companies which either organise events or program specific areas. Their range varies from larger agencies organising large theatre and concert events with international performers and big festivals to small, local agencies and individual artists who sell shows to cultural houses, schools, kindergartens and the like.
A significant role is played by local cultural centres, parks of culture and leisure, cultural houses and cultural departments of local and regional municipalities. In addition to the latter, mostly these are organisations subsidised by local governments, engaged, in principle, in similar activities as agencies and independent cultural centres (programming, organisation of events, and production). In this case, however, they are financed mainly from public funds.
Part of the market is also different supply companies which provide goods and services required for the functioning of the sector (technology – lights, sound; marketing, media, premises, transportation, ticketing, etc.).
Cultural festivals (especially music, theatre and multi-genre) are economically significant activities regarding the ability to generate a primary income and positive secondary effects in a given area (city, region, or country).

In this chapter, the music industry means the entire cycle of creation and sale of the music of all genres within the scope, within which it enters the market. This market segment partially overlaps with the performing arts, especially in the field of classical music and folklore.

Sector Structure


  • Branches of large multinational companies (Universal, Sony Music, Warner) or Czech publishing houses operating on the Slovak market (CS Muzika, Supraphon) focus mainly on distribution;
  • Independent Slovak publishers (Forza, Slnko Records, Deadred Records, Exitab Pavian, Hevhetia, and others).


  • Agencies acting as branches of multinational companies or their representatives (e.g. XL Group – Live Nation);
  • Independent agencies (Vivien, Cool Factory, Pohoda, Vresk, Grape Festival, Duna, Konvergencie, etc.);
  • Clubs promoters – individuals, civic associations, micro-firms.

Production and management agencies, individual agents

Artists – musicians, bands, orchestras, DJs, etc.

Recording studios

Infrastructure – event premises, music clubs, cultural centres, houses of culture.
After 1989, the music industry and, in particular, the distribution experienced tremendous growth, mainly due to the “hunger” of customers for the type of products that were previously virtually inaccessible. Branches of main global publishers quickly established themselves in the market and the distribution recognised relatively high sales. Furthermore, this situation was underpinned by a parallel advent of CDs and DVDs on the market.
In recent years, a sharp increase in digital revenues is evident (an increase by 132% in 2012). Today, digital revenues account for 20% of total sales and the potential for further growth is evident. It is related to the recent boom of legal music on-line services, the spread of the offer of digital stores and the development of new business models. In addition to services designed to download music, streaming services have been developed, within which users do not download music to a digital device, but they just listen to it. Making new service centres available in the territory of the Slovak Republic and increasing the penetration of smartphones with the availability of music services in mobile phones bring further potential in this area. The development of digital distribution and especially streaming change the balance of power in the market, and it can be assumed that further development will lead to a weakening of the larger players in the market and strengthening and increasing the number of the small ones (long tail effect).

The original sense of folk crafts was to meet the needs of local communities, which was their primary utility function. Along with the gradual rural and urban development, the crafts acquired their aesthetic function, which also became a character-setting element of localities and regions.
After 1989, folk art production experienced relatively rapid changes, which, in principle, mirrored the social and economic development across the country. Its essence was the transition to a very narrow specialisation or, vice versa, a shift towards greater flexibility and versatility in the development of craft activities and manufacturing. In both cases, it was the necessary adjusting of manufacturers to the requirements of a relatively narrow market.
The sector mainly includes:

  • Artistic crafts focused on home furnishings and tourism – individual producers, entrepreneurs, family businesses, small companies (s.r.o.);
  • Traditional and folk crafts – individual producers without business, entrepreneurs, family businesses with up to nine employees, non-profit organisations;
  • Manufacturing and sales ensured by the Centre for Folk Art Production (ÚĽUV) (the state contributory organisation).

According to the data provided by ÚĽUV, about 1,300 producers (natural persons) actively working in the field of traditional crafts and folk art production are registered in Slovakia. There are about 30 legal entities operating in the sector. There is a qualified assumption that other 500 to 800 individuals are actively engaged in this activity in Slovakia, for whom folk craft is a partial or full form of livelihood.

“Hand-made” boom
Recently, Slovakia also experienced a significant development of the so-called hand-made domestic production, which partly overlaps with traditional crafts and partly with design and fashion design. The economic situation of the population, as well as a growing demand for distinctive, unique products caused a boom of individual production and sales of various types of goods (jewellery, handicrafts, garments, small household items, etc.). The problem of such small activities, if they tend to exceed the horizon of sale to “friends” or from the workshop, is reaching customers – therefore, they need a particular form of sales and marketing. The commercial success of the sales portal Sashe (, which is based on a very well programmed online platform and sale of small series to a large number of resellers (long tail), suggests that small crafts, local design, and workmanship have great potential in Slovakia in terms of commercial exploitation and has provided the centralisation of certain costs and innovative forms of sales and marketing.

The industrial design sells a product, defines it in time, and at the same time can represent the country abroad. From the perspective of a textbook, design is merely a synthesis of the aesthetic and functional aspect of the product, but, regarding marketing and sociology, it brings a lot more benefits. Prominent designers and specific and quality design significantly contribute to the country’s identity.
The historical structure of the industry in the second half of the 20th century and its subsequent restructuring (and sometimes even destruction) after 1989 are crucial for the current state of design in Slovakia. The development of different industrial sectors had a direct impact on the development or stagnation of industrial design in Slovakia.
The basis of the relationship of industry and design in the modern sense was built in our country during the first Czechoslovak Republic when many sectors and especially industrial design reached world-class in this territory. The process of nationalisation brought a fundamental restructuring of the industry in Slovakia. Large national enterprises were created by a merger of smaller companies with sonorous names. Later, corporations and trusts were founded.
After the sudden change in 1989 that brought the fall of the communist regime, a process of economic and industrial transformation took place in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. Many older factories became parts of foreign mergers without the opportunity to design their own products. Privatisation and the entrance of foreign investors suppressed the activities of the development department that had presented excellent designer quality in the previous decades.
In 1991, after the dissolution of IPD, the Slovak Centre of Design (later the Slovak Design Centre) was founded with the aim to support design development in conditions of economic transformation leading to the creation of a market-oriented economy. The centre then began to publish a specialised magazine Designum, organise designer competitions and award excellent design.
The current design is diverse – from conceptual and art design works (František Burian, Karol Weisslechner, Silvia Jokelová, Štefan Nosko) to the strictly technical products intended for mass production (Ferdinand Chrenka, Štefan Klein). Graphic design, which is directly connected with advertising, is steadily growing and professionalised. The openness of borders, opportunities abroad and cooperation with foreign companies provide many designers right jobs outside Slovakia even during their studies.
According to the data furnished by the Slovak Centre of Design, currently, there are about 150 companies in Slovakia that collaborate with designers or use the product design as a competitive advantage. Many of these businesses were created after 1990. Their owners started a business in a challenging period when the economic conditions changed dramatically. On the other hand, it was a time when new ideas could be put into practice relatively quickly and easily – there were areas to which no one paid attention and in which no one was “engaged” until then. Thus, unexpected opportunities for application of design occurred such as the production of ultralight aircraft (Aerospool, Prievidza), outdoor clothings (Trek Sport Trade, Dunajská Lužná), or special through-flow heaters (Hakl, Ivanka pri Dunaji). These kinds of production have enriched the structure of Slovak industry, and some of them have managed to capture specific small markets (niche markets) with potential for development and export abroad.
According to the projections of the Slovak Center of Design, it is currently operating approximately in Slovakia:

  • 700 graphic designers,
  • 80 graphic studios,
  • 350 industrial designers,
  • 10 major designers’ studios,
  • 120 interior design studios,
  • 1,000 craftspeople producing the design with using traditional techniques (see Chapter Traditional Crafts).

About 5% of designers in Slovakia work for foreign companies. Approximately 70% of active designers are younger than 40 years.

Like the industrial and product design, also the fashion design area is directly linked to the development and state of the textile and clothing industry.
In the early eighties, there were 13 state-owned enterprises in Slovakia, focusing on the textile industry. They were aimed at cotton production, woollen industry, linen and hemp products, and knitwear industry. There were also several major factories in the garment industry. During that period, around 1,400 designers with different skill levels worked in the textile and clothing production.
In 1989, the textile and clothing industry in Slovakia employed 46,965 workers, which was 9.7% of total employment in the industry. Among all industries, just the textile and apparel industry was at first confronted with the challenges of globalisation; this trend has been taking place in the world since the seventies until today.
The structure of the clothing industry after 1989 began to pave a new way. It enabled independent tradespeople to carry out business activities (for example, Lýdia Eckhardt, Iveta Ledererová, Danica Vodová, Lea Fekete, Marta Bošelová and Michaela Klimanová-Trizuljaková were the first personalities in the field of fashion). The development of home fashion salons and smaller brands was significantly influenced by the establishment of the Fashion Design Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in 1993 (until then, professional studies in fashion design were organised only at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague). From 1991 to 1995, a group of active influencing fashion designers created the BRATISLAVA FASHION project, which contributed to the interest in studying fashion design at the Academy of Fine Arts. Around 2000, first graduates of this department with different business potential began to enter the market (from the custom clothes for individual clients through brands realising less mass production in cooperation with domestic industrial enterprises). Among them, Dana Kleinert, Izabela Komjati, Petra Poorová, Boris Hanečka, Marcel Holubec, Michaela Mazalánová, Jana Kuzmová, Lenka Sršňová, Michaela Bednárová and others came to the fore. In addition to the graduates of Academy of Fine Arts, the domestic market includes the fixed stars such as Fero Mikloško, Jana Pištejová, Richard Rozbora, Veronika Hložníková, Hana Převrátilová and others.
Since 2011, the Slovak Fashion Council ( has operated in Slovakia. The aim of this association is to promote Slovak fashion and textile designers as well as companies carrying out related activities in penetrating the local, but especially foreign markets. The Council supports the penetration of the market by the productive sector, the creation of material and technical conditions for professional development, and the promotion of Slovak textile and fashion design and Slovak designers both in Slovakia and in the world. The association also creates a platform for organising events and awarding of prizes in the field of fashion design to increase interest in the Slovak creative scene and establish a professional basis for the provision of local and international cooperation in the area of fashion design.

Architecture is the only sector of the creative industries (as classified in this study), which has its own professional chamber authorised to issue certificates of competence. The Slovak Chamber of Architects ( was established by Act No. 138/1992 Coll. on Authorised Architects and Authorised Civil Engineers.
Essential relationships influencing architect activities are given by the triangle – the investor – the architect – and the contractor. The designer activity is therefore directly linked to the overall condition of the real estate market, purchasing power and the accumulation of capital, but also to the level and targeting of public investment and the manner of its implementation.
An essential element that also affects the dynamics of the market is the state of public space, the vision of its development and the way of its reshaping in the society.
Sector Structure

  • Studios:
    • – Large engineering studios,
    • – Small architectural studios (up to 10 people),
  • Individual architects,
  • Design offices.

The current state of architecture in Slovakia results from historical developments of recent decades as well as from the way, in which the social development influenced the construction and the real estate market. On the market, there are several generations of architects, who differ not only by creative style but also by experience and ways of working. The generation that was active before 1989 has gradually been ending. A market leader becomes the firm generation of those who started to operate in the industry after 1989 (larger studios with engineering extension, and individual architects). Recent major studios were created shortly before the cessation of the construction boom in 2008 (e.g. Vallo – Sadovský). The younger generation works rather on an individual basis or on the basis of smaller free clusters.

The advertising industry in Slovakia consists of two essential parts of the market cycle – the communications market and media market. The first area includes standard communication agencies, which deal mainly with the creation of creative advertising ideas and their implementation, PR agencies, agencies focused on promotion and event marketing, and production companies. The other area consists of media agencies whose principal activity is the purchase of the media market.
The structures of the advertising industry have undergone several phases since 1989. While, initially almost exclusively integrated “advertising” agencies originated that covered the full cycle of creation, production, and placement of advertising, later, significant segmentation of individual activities occurred as the result of a rapid expansion of the market. The current trend is again heading to moderate integration, especially in the context of communication agencies, due to both a decrease in turnover, as well as efforts to better target multi-genre campaigns.
After the stage of forming and creating standard structures and relationships in the nineties, the Slovak advertising market has experienced the biggest boom in times of economic expansion around since 2000. From 2005 to 2008, the Slovak advertising market recorded a yearly growth of advertising expenditure of companies by about 20%. This trend fundamentally changed in 2009, when due to the economic recession, the market fell by 35%, and the downward trend has been sustained since then.
Unlike conventional advertising market, in recent years, investment in Internet advertising has been growing significantly even during an overall decline of advertising budgets. The year-on-year increase in investment in the Slovak market in 2012 accounted for more than 43%. In absolute terms, the Internet advertising market in Slovakia amounted to 64.6 million EUR, thus exceeding even the most optimistic estimates. As part of the media mix, the Internet comprises 22% of investments at an estimated investment in advertising in the amount of 300 million EUR (the total volume of the advertising market according to the data and monitoring of the IAB Slovakia).
The rapidly-growing online market and the multiplication of other advertising channels in the digital environment bring new opportunities and markets for advertising or unexpected possibilities of a segmentation to specific audiences (the advantage for communication agencies that have greater opportunities for creative activities, and at the same time increasing their role in helping the client become familiar with the options available), but also a constant fragmentation of communication channels, and therefore more difficult targeting of advertising campaigns on clients (a particular problem of media agencies).

According to data from the study “Online Chance for Slovakia (How the Internet Changes the Slovak Economy)” developed by Google for BCG in 2012, the size of the Internet economy in Slovakia reaches about 3.3% of GDP. It is expected that the Slovak Internet economy will grow by 12% per year and reach 4.5% of GDP to 2016. The main drivers of the anticipated growth will be private consumption, and export of services, information and communication technologies (ICT) and software. According to that study, Slovakia is poised to become the country with an above-average performance of the Internet economy, provided that Slovakia invests in specialised human capital, ICT education, streamlines the innovation policy, and invest more in science and research.
The area in which the rapidly evolving digital technologies overlap with the creative industries is steadily increasing, mainly due to the massive dynamics in this segment. Although the creative industries that are the subject of this chapter, constitute a small part of the IT sector regarding turnover, creative activities in the IT sector itself generate high added value of products, and their use in the digital environment is a competitive advantage. The resulting product consists of a software code and creative elements (visual, marketing, design, usability). The user interface, which is especially a product of creative industries, is a key for its success on the market. The creative industries thus help to the usability and distribution of the software, i.e. placing of the software on the market.
The area of creative industries in the digital environment has all the advantages and disadvantages of a growing sector in which there are no common rules and structures, nor establishment and historically given issues. An essential factor in the successful development is the principle of continuous innovation (“be first”). The dynamics mean the possibility of rapid growth and decline of individual sectors.

Computer Games
Since the nineties, small games and applications designed for the Czech and Slovak markets (games for PC and consoles) have been developed in the Slovak Republic. Currently, several companies operate in Slovakia, dealing with the development of computer games, viral applications and games for the Facebook, iPhone and Android platforms, as well as 3D animations and visualisations. It is worth noting that these are relatively large companies which have grown in recent years regarding turnover and the number of employees.
In addition to the larger, fast-growing companies, several smaller companies, and individual designers can be found in Slovakia, either creating their own smaller products or providing partial services to major international players in the field of game development.
In addition to a rapidly growing global primary market, the potential of digital games and related technologies is also in the secondary sectors such as education, HR, strategy, security policies and others.

Other Areas
Regarding linking creative activities and the digital environment, companies engaged in web design in the broadest sense and marketing, PR, and advertising agencies operating mainly in the digital environment are major, which, compared to the conventional advertising market, are the only companies that have been growing currently. These are either companies providing comprehensive web services – design, development, deployment and maintenance of websites, intranets, software, mobile interfaces, and web applications; advertising agencies providing comprehensive digital marketing; agencies combining classic advertising with digital advertising and marketing of social networks; or full-service advertising agencies primarily using digital technology. Market development in the segment of digital advertising is also caused by the fact that online advertising is precisely measurable and targeted much more accurately than traditional advertising.
In Slovakia, there can also be found companies dedicated to the use of 3D visualisation technologies and augmented reality in the industrial reality (object modelling, production processes, security systems, etc.).