Some “facts” from the myth-busting Europeans

Here’s an odd press release put out by the European Commission. It contains what it says are ten “facts” about the media and content industries.

Strangely, the release doesn’t back up any of these “facts” with “evidence”, “research” or “sources” (other than a tiny link to this page which in turn puffs a report which says it aims to “offer a reliable set of data and analysis” about the media and content industries).

The recipent of the press release is presumably required to read the 167 page report for themselves in order to understand the basis for the “facts” it contains. Or, more likely, not bother and just accept the “facts” at face value.

That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, although one or two of them seem odd to me based on my own knowledge and experience.

Some seem depressingly plausible (“fact” 3: 70% of music sales are digital, but only 35% of revenues, source unexplained; “fact” 8: power has shifted from production of content to distribution) and should worry anyone who cares about creativity.

Others seem completely vague and strange (“face” 6: In most cases [the decline of the printed press] started earlier due to changing patterns of consumption and may also be the result of a more competitive market with reduced profit margins and decreasing prices) and offer no actual facts to even attempt to verify.

This seems strange coming from the European Commission, an institution so sensitive about inaccurate or mis-interpreted “facts” about itself and its behaviour that its UK office has a prominent “Mythbusters” section on its website to try to rebut such stuff.

I wonder why they thought these “facts” would be helpful and what they are supposed to achieve. Heaven forfend that they might result in vague assertions being presented as actual “facts” as a consequence of having the Comission’s good name attached to them.

Perhaps they might care to update their website with sources of the data they have used to compile their “facts” and remove any which are, in reality, just opinions or assertions.

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