2018 BPF on Local Content
The IGF Best Practice Forums (BPFs) bring experts and stakeholders together to exchange and discuss experiences and best practices in addressing Internet policy issues. The BPF on Local content was part of the IGF intersessional work programme leading into the 2018 IGF Meeting in Paris, France, on 12 - 14 November 2018. This report reflects the work of the BPF and is the result of a community-driven bottom-up and open process.
Local content is a returning topic at the IGF and considered to be a challenge that could benefit from continued cooperation and coordinated effort of all stakeholders. The 2018 BPF on Local Content builds on the work of the BPF in 2017 that discussed the relation between the development and growth of a local Internet and the availability of content and services that are relevant for the local Internet user. This year’s BPF intends to take a next step and focus on the local development of content and a local content value chain.
Local content and Internet uptake
Despite the rapid growth of the Internet and the considerable improvement of access in developing and remote areas, Internet uptake seems not to evolve at the same speed and keeps lagging behind in some areas. Access and cost directly relate to ‘having the possibility to use the Internet’, but it is the people’s expectation and experience that the Internet brings useful and interesting content that motivates them to go online.
For the local Internet and in extension the local digital economy to develop, it is important that the content and services accessible and provided over the Internet are relevant for the local Internet user. Content must be in a language that is understood by the local population, and deal with matter of local interest. ‘Relevant content, including which is generated locally and concerned with local issues, is necessary if people want to use the Internet in order to improve their quality of life or livelihoods, and to contribute to national development’.
Focus of the 2018 BPF developing a Local content value chain
Inspired by previous intersessional work and the discussions at the BPF Local content workshop at the 2017 IGF meeting, the BPF Local content in 2018 decided to focus on both enabling ‘a sustainable local content value chain, and the economic viability of creating and providing locally relevant content’.
The BPF observed three “realities” related to the local creation of local content:
1. New self-sustaining models for local content creation: Local businesses, entrepreneurs, SMEs, etc. develop their own new models to create and commercialise content and be self-sustaining. New companies and start-ups are well placed to test innovative models, but also existing companies can search and develop new ways to create and commercialise local content.
2. The development of an enabling environment for local content creation: Numerous policies, projects, and initiatives in all parts of the world contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for the development of a sustainable local content industry. There’s a broad spectrum of examples, such as IP legislation to protect online content of local creators, initiatives to provide affordable local hosting to local content producers, etc., but also schemes and programmes providing support to start-ups, SMEs, etc. to help them become self-sustainable.
3. Existing models promoting, supporting or subsidizing local content creation: Existing models in legislation, regulation, incentives, international or national policies etc. have as goal to promote, support, and subsidize the local creation of local online content. An important part of these models are particularly focused on or limited to the creation of local online content of a cultural and educational nation and the transition from traditional media to digital platforms.
The BPF Local Content organised a face to face session at the 13th IGF meeting in Paris. The testimonials and case studies presented at the session and highlighted in this report cover different aspects of the creation of local content and a local content value chain. The examples are selected from different regions and sectors.
url 2018 BPF Local Content Final output:
A recording of the workshop can be found here:
BPF Local Content Draft Output Document
IGF 2018 BPF Local Content - Session @IGF
Tuesday 13 November 2018 15:00 - 16:30 CET (UTC+1)
1. Introduction & background [ 10 min ]
BPF Local content draft output: download document & comment
2. Elevator Pitch presentations - the panel and their experiences [ 20 min ]
3. Towards a sustainable local content value chain: facing difficulties, overcoming hindrances and achieving success - Open discussion with the panel, and in situ and online participants [ 55 min ]
4. Takeaways and closure [ 5 min ]
The 2018 BPF on Local Content intends to focus on building, supporting and further developing a local content "industry" and a sustainable local content value chain.
Call for contributions
The BPF is looking for examples of: closed
Please submit examples and case studies to [email protected] before 15 October.
- 15 October - 4pm UTC - meeting details
- 2 October 2018 - 3pm UTC - meeting report
- 18 September 2018 - 3pm UTC - meeting report
- 3 September 2018 - 2pm UTC - meeting report
- 6 July 2018 - 2 pm UTC - meeting report
BPF Local Content mailing list
The BPF is open to all stakeholders with an interest in local content. Join the BPF and subscribe to the mailing list at https://intgovforum.org/mailman/listinfo/bpf-localcontent_intgovforum.org .
Ubiquitous and affordable Internet access, and content creation in all forms are critical facets of a robust Internet ecosystem. There is widespread evidence from multiple sources that tells that people go online because they expect the Internet to be useful and interesting. Relevant content and services that answer to the demand and needs of users drive Internet uptake and growth.
Globally the penetration of Internet has reached 54,4% at the end of 20171, while the penetration of radio - the media most available in the world - is over 95%. Regions that have known important improvements in Internet access and affordability, for example rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, have not seen Internet uptake and usage growing at a similar speed. There’s a gap to fill. People and whole communities risk to miss opportunities, have no access to online knowledge, and cannot participate in the (local) online market.
Locally relevant content and services that meet the expectations of the local users and potential new users, make the Internet an attractive and useful tool, whether users are looking for information, amusement, or helpful tools for their business, study, or hobbies, or for a communications tool to keep in touch with family and friends The lack of relevant content and services in local languages risks to lead to a lack of interest to go online and a slower Internet uptake in regions where access and affordability conditions recently improved. Spurring the demand side of the Internet is thus inextricably linked to the relevance of local content. Moreover, the abundance of global contents in foreign languages risks to create a growing divide between citizens in the same communities.
For example, a survey for the United States showed that 11% of Americans don’t use the Internet and that 34% of those non-users “do not go online because they had no interest in doing so or did not think the Internet was relevant to their lives”.2 In developing countries, such as Brazil, internet non-users also cite lack of need and interest as one of the main reasons for remaining offline. Similarly, in India, lack of need drives 53% of non-users to remain offline.3
Building on the work of the BPF Local content 2014 and 2017
Local content is a returning topic at the IGF and considered to be a subject that benefits from continued cooperation and coordination efforts among all stakeholders.
In 2014, the BPF on Local Content explored how to create an enabling environment for its the development.4 The 2017 BPF on Local Content built on the 2014 effort by collecting case studies and examples of successful projects from various stakeholders. These case studies and examples demonstrate best practices and are intended to inspire policy and decision-makers seeking for ways to stimulate local content creation, and motivate and support local developers or entrepreneurs to create content and services for the local population.5
About the 2018 Local Content BPF
Towards a sustainable local content value chain
Inspired by the discussions during the BPF workshop at the 2017 IGF meeting, it isproposed to continue the BPF Local content in 2018 with a focus on both enabling a sustainable local content value chain, and the economic viability of creating and providing locally relevant content.
The BPF intends to look at the needs of SMEs, startups, and content providers at the local and national level, as well as explore what hinders international and global providers of content and services from offering content in specific countries, regions and areas. Special attention will go to the developing countries’ perspective, both with respect to building up a local content ‘industry’ and enabling local users to access content offered by global providers.
For the BPF to be successful, the involvement of businesses, government representatives, and civil society groups that are supporting the development of the local online market is key.
The BPF intends to reflect on work done in other forums or by International organizations such as WIPO, UNESCO and WBU/EBU around the need to improve local content in order to make an attractive Internet offer.6 Reports published by UNESCO7 around the 2005 Convention on Cultural Diversity or those published by UNCTAD between 2008 and 20168 that include country profiles and outlook in all LDC around the world9 can be used as important reference documents.
Topics & perspectives to cover: (to be prioritized and structured by the BPF)
- Business models and related issues: Monetization of content, secure payment platforms, paid content versus free content and the use of ads, banners and other methods;
- Freedom of speech and access to information;
- Multilingualism, education and skills;
- Infrastructure and related issues such as Net Neutrality;
- Trade related issues such as the cross-border transfer of content, geo-blocking, use of quota;
- IP & copyright as enablers of sustainable local contents industries;
- Consumer protection;
- Appropriate regulatory frameworks promoting the creation of local content,
Government initiatives and their intended and unintended impact;
- Stakeholder involvement and cooperation: content creators & producers, right holders, media platforms, / governments and regulators;
What does the BPF intend to do?
- Further identify and describe critical issues;
- Seek for best practices and tested solutions in different contexts;
- Identify stakeholders and parties involved;
- Provide a platform to strengthen the discussion between stakeholders.
Outreach Plan and Multistakeholder Engagement in the IGF
As indicated, for the BPF to be successful, the involvement of businesses, government representatives, and civil society groups that are supporting the development of the local online market is key. Outreach will be focusing on these groups.
The BPF further intends to invite organisations such as WIPO, UNESCO, WBU/EBU10 and WEF11 to participate in the discussions and share their research and expertise.
The BPF will reach out to those who actively participated in the BPF discussion at the IGF in Geneva - some of them explicitly expressed their interest to be involved if the BPF continues. Among the active participants in the BPF discussion at IGF2017 were representatives from the Wikimedia Foundation, EBU/WBU, The Walt Disney Company, Orange, the Mediterranean Federation of Internet Associations, BW Botswana, InnovTDD Ghana, AFRALO, the Internet Society, Maharat Foundation, ICANNWiki, the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), ICANN, and others.
The BPF will reach out to organisers of workshops at the last two IGF meetings on local content and related topics. As soon as available, the BPF will screen the list of workshop proposals for the 2018 IGF and invite those who submitted proposals on topics on or related to local content to join the BPF discussions. In a later phase, the BPF intends to explore synergies and cooperation between accepted workshops on local content and the BPF. Outreach will remain high on the BPF’s agenda and participants to the BPF will be invited to make additional suggestions for outreach to and potential cooperation with organisations, projects and forums.
Mailing List Sign-up
The BPF Local Content mailing list is open to all stakeholders interested in or with expertise on related issues.
2 Pew Research Center, 11% of Americans don't use the internet. Who are they?, accessed March 6, 2018, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/05/some-americans-dontuse-
3 WEF, Internet for All: A framework for accelerating internet access and adoption (2016), accessed February 15, 2018,
6 See the conclusions of the recent WSIS thematic workshop on this topic organized by these 3 organizations:
10 WBU/EBU already expressed support for the BPF 2018 proposal on the IGF mailing list.
11 In particular the teams involved in the WEF Internet for All initiative.