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Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

Report: E-sports, Social Media Stars Drive Digital Media Job Growth

Employment in the entertainment industry in the Los Angeles Basin grew 19.6 percent from 2006 to 2016, outpacing 4 percent growth across all industries in the area over the same 10-year period, a new report says.

The breakdown: Entertainment (up 7 percent), digital media industries (up 15 percent), professional business services-related employment (down 8 percent), distribution-related jobs (up 82 percent) and non-internet-related publishing (down 6 percent).

The report, released earlier this month by the Center for a Competitive Workforce, attributes much of the growth to an increase in the category that includes promoters, agents and managers, which added more than 36,000 jobs over the decade (see related story, page 1; list of talent agencies, page 14).

The growth includes both new agencies as well existing talent and management firms that have added new digital branding departments devoted to e-sports and social media stars.

Entertainment industry observers say those personalities are increasingly tapping managers to help monetize their emerging brands.

Some in the business of representing such young stars might offer help navigating the specific metrics that may be attractive to advertisers.

“You may have five million followers, but what if only 5,000 actually like your post?” said Ellie Altshuler, a partner at downtown’s Nixon Peabody law firm who represents numerous YouTube stars in entertainment and fashion.

“YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and the multi-channel networks (MCNS) have created a democratization of celebrity,” said Chris Rico, director of digital media and entertainment industry development at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (LAEDC). “This has created an ever-expanding market for agents and talent managers to monetize these creators and their content.”

The LAEDC is a partner in the Center for a Competitive Workforce, along with 19 Los Angeles region community colleges in the in the L.A./O.C. Regional Consortium; the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research at Mt. San Antonio College.

Amy Neben, a talent manager for Select Management Group, is one of a new group of digital talent representatives.

Select Management Group has a team of 13 including four or five managers.

“There is a lot more you can do from the beginning with these folks’ careers than you can do with a traditional actor,” she said, citing revenue streams such as tours for self-invented music stars, or developing merchandise related to the content of the star’s social media posts, such as makeup or cookbooks.

Working with digital talent breaks down barriers to entering the competitive entertainment business, both for the personalities, and their representatives, Neben added.

“This is kind of like the early days of cable, when young (talent) jumped in fairly quickly,” she said. “Younger agents are seeing a bigger opportunity and leading the charge. The same is true on the management side.”

The Center for a Competitive Workforce is studying six target industries expected to undergo significant middle-skill job growth between 2016 and 2021. One of the consortium’s goals is to use the data to support industry-driven career education and workforce development programs.

– Diane Haithman

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