The Board of Supervisors took a significant step this week in support of the growth of the Film and Digital Media Industry in LA County — addressing both the significant economic benefits and the growing need for diversity in the creative economy.
The Otis College of Art and Design, in their 2018 annual report, identified 12 key industry sectors that comprise the creative economy, including entertainment, digital media, visual and performing arts, and art galleries, to name a few. Together, these 12 sectors are responsible for a total economic output of $198 billion and generate $9 billion in tax revenues in the LA Region.
One of the strongest and fastest-growing sectors within the creative economy is the Film and Digital Media Industry. A recent report from Beacon Economics reports that the LA County Film and Digital Media Industry not only grew faster than the national rate of growth for this industry but also is growing faster than the rest of the County’s economy.
This sector of the creative economy added nearly 50,000 jobs between 2011 and 2016, directly employing 265,000 workers, and supporting a total of 640,500 jobs. Also, the industry is projected to grow by more than 16,000 jobs over the next three years.
However, historically these fields have had limited diversity that may have unfairly excluded talented people of color and women. In an effort to ensure that diverse County residents can take advantage of this robust economic employment sector in the future, the Board voted to direct appropriate County departments including those responsible for workforce development, business, and the arts to develop a plan to implement key recommendations outlined in the Beacon Economics study.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the author of the motion, said after the vote: “You can’t automate or outsource creativity. The Beacon Economics report makes very clear that the creative economy in LA is growing, and that we have been successful in the last decade in increasing the demographic diversity within the sector. Today’s decision ensures that we will continue to open more doors to these industries, because the #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite movements, as well as our own data, demonstrate that we still have work to do. A diverse population is one of LA’s great strengths, and we want to be sure that our diversity helps creative businesses remain competitive and grow their businesses here.”
“I am pleased that the Board is playing a role in supporting and growing this rich and emerging sector,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, co-author of the motion, said. “As the imagination capital of the world, home to more than a hundred cultural institutions, as well as numerous world-class sporting assets, the best we can do for the diverse, skilled local workforce of LA County is to invest in this unique and powerful economic opportunity.”
The Board intends to support the growth of the Film and Digital Media Industry so Los Angeles can maintain its position as the hub of the creative economy. This week’s actions will not only help provide opportunities for LA residents but also help the industry meet increased demand for diverse voices and perspectives.