Entertainment and the Rise of Digital Media in the Los Angeles Basin
An Industry Disrupted
An Industry Disrupted
In February 2018, the Center for a Competitive Workforce, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), released its first report in a series of industry “deep-dives” analyzing industries critical to the region’s economic health. This first report explores the emergence of a new sector: Digital Media and Entertainment in the Los Angeles Basin.
The entertainment industry is one of the most prominent and iconic industries in the Los Angeles Basin (Los Angeles and Orange counties) and provides significant economic benefits in terms of wealth generation and middle-skill job growth. However, rapid advances in digital media are transforming how entertainment content is created, distributed and consumed. As a result, the Center for a Competitive Workforce set out to analyze the major shifts that are occurring in the industry and identify the jobs that have the brightest outlook in the region. Key findings include:
Annual job openings in the next five years for the 14 examined middle-skill jobs
Awards related to entertainment & digital media conferred by Community Colleges
Entertainment & digital media workers employed in the region
Jobs in entertainment grew four times as fast as the regional economy
Out of 650 distinct occupations in the entertainment industry, 14 were selected that show promise in the region. All occupations are middle skill, meaning they typically require at least a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree. Key findings include:
Spent in the region by the entertainment industry in 2015
Of the gross regional product is accounted for by entertainment industry spending
Location quotient of the entertainment industry in the Los Angeles Basin
Direct and indirect jobs in the entertainment & digital media industry in the region
Jobs on the rise.
What they do: Produce entertainment productions and are responsible for creative decisions
What they do: Set up or operate audio and visual equipment for sports events and live performances
What they do: Manipulate film, video or other media with software
What they do: Compile records for purchase orders—occupations include schedulers, planners and production assistants
What they do: Create original designs or adapt fashion trends
What they do: Use video equipment to record images
What they do: Apply makeup to performers to reflect the period, setting and situation of their role
What they do: Create special effects, animation or visual images using video or other electronic tools
What they do: Use cameras and computer software to produce a wide range of images
What they do: Provide hair styling, makeup and skin care services
What they do: Operate equipment to record, synchronize, mix or reproduce music, voices or sound effects
Born and raised in Mexico, Natalia Adame came to Los Angeles at age 21 to launch a career in acting. She already had a bachelor’s degree in marketing under her belt, but when she heard from a friend about the Promo Pathway Program at Santa Monica College, she knew it was a perfect fit. The program offered a new career direction, allowing her to merge her passion for marketing with entertainment. An internship at Disney|ABC Television Group in 2016 led to a full-time position as a marketing coordinator. Now, she oversees efforts to promote the company’s content with its external partners, such as cable affiliates, Direct TV and Hulu. The most inspirational part of her job is being part of a team that is constantly innovating and creating. “That’s my passion,” she said. “We have a ton of projects that are constantly changing. You feel like you are a part of something really magical.”
Employment forecasting was used to identify 14 promising occupations in entertainment and digital media. These occupations are expected to grow rapidly over the next five years and offer solid wages. Employment is shown for the Los Angeles Basin, which includes Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Wages were a critical factor in selecting the 14 occupations. A job must have a positive employment outlook and pay a living wage to be a viable career path for students. Some middle-skill jobs that pay well in entertainment and digital media are producers and directors, film and video editors, and fashion designers.