LA Is Losing Film And TV Jobs To Other Cities, But No Single Rival Hub Has Emerged

 Hollywood still attracts top talent. But a new study released Thursday found that the Los Angeles region is losing entertainment jobs to other cities as the industry undergoes some radical transformations.

The latest edition of the Otis College Report on the Creative Economy found that at the start of 2023, 35% of film and TV jobs nationwide were located in L.A. County. By the end of the year, that figure had fallen to 27%.

But Taner Osman, study co-author and co-founder of Westwood Economics, said production jobs are not fleeing to any single rival hub.

“Although L.A.’s share has decreased, it hasn't lost share to Atlanta,” Osman said. “It hasn't lost share to New York. It has lost share to a little bit of everywhere.”

Where L.A. still beats other cities

Osman said this decentralization continued during the actors and writers' strikes last year. But the process started long before. Cities across the country have lured productions with tax incentives and lower overall budget requirements.

But Osman said the industry’s top creative talent is still clustered in L.A.

“L.A.'s advantage in the entertainment industry is not based on cost — there are places where you can produce some content cheaper,” he said. “L.A.’s strength is that it has the most talented entertainment labor force in the U.S.”

The report found that L.A.-based film and TV workers earn around 60% more, on average than their peers nationally.

Film and TV aren’t the only game in town

The researchers also delved into some major changes in the broader entertainment industry. While film and TV is still the dominant sector in L.A.’s entertainment industry — 52% of the whole, according to the report — it’s losing ground to other sectors, such as video games and social media.

“There's just a lot more competition for eyeballs,” Osman said. “It's probably a little bit outdated to just view LA's entertainment industry as being focused on film and TV.”

As with the broader economy, Hollywood is providing fewer opportunities to workers who lack a college degree. The Otis report found that more than two-thirds of the industry’s workers in L.A. now have a college education, compared with less than half in 2000.

Osman said the entertainment industry has become “more technical in nature” due to the shift toward digital streaming platforms. Employers are now looking for “people who can write algorithms and programs,” he added.

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