Digital Transformation in the Creative Industries: Emerging Research on the Development within Broadcasting in the Leeds region


The creative industries are of strategic importance for the UK’s economic prosperity and includes areas such as TV & Film, Music, Gaming, Design and Architecture amongst others. The industry has seen a growth in GVA by 53.1 percent between 2010-2017, compared with the 29.7 percent increase in the economy as a whole during the same period (Creative Industries 2018).

The specific research problem that is addressed in this context are the challenges that digital transformation creates for media businesses, and the unknown consequences of the application of new digital technologies into existing organisational practices and forms (Lampel and Germain 2016; Petruzzelli and Savino, 2015). This has important impacts on a range of key areas which remain poorly understood: employees’ work activities and working conditions, business process operations, innovation in products and services, the emergence of new business models, networks and ecosystems, as well as regional development.

Previous literature has stressed the lack of empirical insights into (1) how organisations in different industries and domains manage digital transformation, and (2) the design of effective strategies, operations and procedures (Chaniasa, Myers and Hessa, 2018; Matt, Hess and Benlian, 2015).

Through this piece of research, we aim to respond to this gap and add to existing knowledge by looking at an illustrative case in the context of broadcasters in Leeds, and their adaptation to changing working conditions in the creative industries. The research is also motivated by the recent relocation of Channel 4 and UKTV into Leeds’ existing community of independent broadcasters, and the increasing use of digital technologies in the industry.

This project seeks to develop a co-produced research programme which will analyse the impact of digital transformation on the UK creative industries from three specific perspectives:

  1. Changes in work activity systems and the management of information;
  2. Changes in working conditions and regional development;
  3. Changes in operations and supply chains, and the design of digital operations.

In total, these three perspectives will bring a broad and complementary view on how digital transformation is impacting future work in this domain. The research looks specifically at the media cluster that is developing in Leeds within the domain of broadcasting, which holds vital strategic importance for the region’s development.