The Hollywood Chamber mobilizes for restoring Hollywood as The Center Of The Universe!
By Gayl Murphy
HOLLYWOOD, CA. (Hollywood Today)11/18/12/—“The Republicans see this industry as a Democratic industry, and the Northern California Democrats see it as a Southern California issue – and why should they get excited about it?” Said LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as he described the challenges of getting Sacramento fired up and ready to go about the financial challenges facing Hollywood.
If you live and work in the entertainment industry in Hollywood, then you know it’s the “War Of The Worlds” here, and it’s not the movie we’re talking about. For too long, this town has been under attack, and the carnage is jobs. It’s two biggest enemies? Runaway production and piracy/content theft, which David Hirschmann, President & CEO of the US Chamber Global Intellectual Center described as, “A culture war. It’s not teenagers in their basement stealing.”
So how bad is this ground assault, really? The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce wanted to know too. And, they took action – allied with some of the biggest economic Generals in LA, the Hollywood Chamber delivered “The First State of the Entertainment Industry Conference: Restoring Hollywood as the Center of the Creative Universe,” held at the Lowes Hollywood Hotel, Friday, Nov. 16th.
Having a chamber that’s so interwoven with the entertainment industry, and the business that feed into it, Chamber President & CEO Leron Gubler explained why this conference now? “We saw that there were a lot of conferences that focus on various aspects of the entertainment industry, but none that really take a hard look at the issues facing the industry right here in Hollywood.”
The Hollywood Chamber’s presentation included among other things, the results of a study they commissioned, done by L.A. Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) on the economic impact of the Entertainment Industry on Hollywood. In other words, Hollywood’s vital signs, those were detailed by LAEDC Chief Economist Robert Kleinhenz, Ph.D. Although, he reported that the prognosis was good, the results weren’t all “Take 2 Advil and call me in the morning” either.
With 247,000 jobs directly tied to the industry, the direct economic profit of the industry is $47B a year, that’s 8.4% of LA County’s annual economic output. And, that spending by these businesses, and their workers, brings in nearly $6B a year in state and local taxes. This is good.
However, the bad reviews are pretty staggering, starting with on-location filming in Hollywood. (Or, let’s call it what it is, runway production) It plunged by 60% over the last 15 years, to which both Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilmember Tom LaBonge had fightin’ words.
The Mayor said the carnage of runway production is jobs, “I walk every Red Carpet I can. I know what the Grammys and the Oscars mean to Hollywood, it’s about jobs. I get beat up for being the Hollywood Mayor, but we’ve got to make investments, because this is where it belongs. This is where we live, and I shouldn’t have to convince Sacramento. We’re generating taxes here. We’ve got to make it easier.” To which LaBonge added this metaphor regarding his district, “A rock is a rock, and a tree is a tree. Shoot in Griffith Park!”
As for jobs in film and video production, we’re talking nosedive. Those jobs peaked in 2004 at 118,200 representing 60% of the sector’s national jobs, but by 2011, 16,100 jobs were lost, with the share of national jobs falling by 51%. The report suggests that a generous portion of this plunge is the job killing impact of runaway production.
The three dynamic panels represented a “who’s who” of companies doing business in entertainment in Hollywood. The topics were timely, informative and well presented: “The Rundown on Ran-Away Production”, “Is Silicon Beach Real for the Entertainment Industry?” and “A New Plank on Piracy/Content Theft”.
In addition, The Chamber presented their “Commitment To California Award” to Anthony E. Zuiker, creator and executive producer of “CSI” for his continued support in keeping production, as well as thousands of jobs in California.
Copies of the full study may be accessed on the Chamber’s website: www.hollywoodchamber.net
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
7018 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028