Entertainment and the Rise of Digital Media in the Los Angeles Basin

An Industry Disrupted

Industry Introduction

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.

Overview

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:

4,000

Annual job openings in the next five years for the 14 examined middle-skill jobs

2,500

Awards related to entertainment & digital media conferred by Community Colleges

220k +

Entertainment & digital media workers employed in the region

4x

Jobs in entertainment grew four times as fast as the regional economy

Top Occupations In Entertainment And Digital Media

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:

$112b

Spent in the region by the entertainment industry in 2015

~13%

Of the gross regional product is accounted for by entertainment industry spending

4.5

Location quotient of the entertainment industry in the Los Angeles Basin

$680k+

Direct and indirect jobs in the entertainment & digital media industry in the region

Occupation Definitions

Jobs on the rise.

Producers and Directors

What they do: Produce entertainment productions and are responsible for creative decisions

AUDIO AND VIDEO EQUIPMENT TECHNICIANS

What they do: Set up or operate audio and visual equipment for sports events and live performances

FILM AND VIDEO EDITORS

What they do: Manipulate film, video or other media with software

PRODUCTION, PLANNING, AND EXPEDITING CLERKS

What they do: Compile records for purchase orders—occupations include schedulers, planners and production assistants

FASHION DESIGNERS

What they do: Create original designs or adapt fashion trends

CAMERA OPERATORS, TELEVISION, VIDEO, AND MOTION PICTURE

What they do: Use video equipment to record images

MAKEUP ARTISTS, THEATRICAL AND PERFORMANCE

What they do: Apply makeup to performers to reflect the period, setting and situation of their role

MULTIMEDIA ARTISTS AND ANIMATORS

What they do: Create special effects, animation or visual images using video or other electronic tools

PHOTOGRAPHERS

What they do: Use cameras and computer software to produce a wide range of images

HAIRDRESSERS, HAIRSTYLISTS, AND COSMETOLOGISTS

What they do: Provide hair styling, makeup and skin care services

SOUND ENGINEERING TECHNICIANS

What they do: Operate equipment to record, synchronize, mix or reproduce music, voices or sound effects

Companies who may employ these occupations:

Natalia Adame

By melding her two passions, one student achieves her dream job
  • SCHOOL: Santa Monica College, Class of 2017
  • PROGRAM: Promo Pathway
  • EMPLOYER: Disney | ABC Television Group
  • JOB TITLE: Marketing coordinator, strategic partnerships and synergy
  • YEAR OF EMPLOYMENT: 2017

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 Outlook

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.

Which Jobs Pay The Best Wages?

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.

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The Educational Landscape

In the Los Angeles Basin, 27 of the 29 community colleges train students for occupations in digital media and entertainment. The map shows the program awards related to entertainment and digital media in the region in 2015-2016.