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B'cast drives gains in jobs, payroll; film mixed

A new study shows that Hollywood — the community — has gained by 7% in entertainment-related jobs in the past four years, in what civic officials hope will reverse perceptions that the area has long lost its base of industry companies.

The study from the Hollywood Economic Alliance also shows a 72% increase in quarterly payroll in the area from 1992-96.

The study, commissioned by Mayor Richard Riordan’s office, showed that the number of employees in the Hollywood area increased from 15,864 in 1992 to 17,080 in 1996. It showed a growth in quarterly payroll from $162 million to $279 million in the same period. The figures were provided by the state Employment Development Dept.

“The inaccurate perception of Hollywood is that the entertainment industry is fleeing,” said John Rooney, president of the Valley Economic Development Center, which coordinated the study. “The truth is, the industry has been thriving.”

The biggest area of growth was in the broadcast industry, where employment climbed 58%, from 1,065 jobs in 1992 to 3,973 jobs in 1996. Channels such as KTLA and KCAL are located in the area.

But jobs in motion pictures declined during the period, from 11,224 in 1992 to 10,256 in 1996. However, the quarterly payroll for motion picture jobs jumped from 131.5 million in 1992 to 193.8 million in 1996.

The job growth in Hollywood still lagged the 55% growth overall of entertainment employment in Los Angeles County in that four-year time frame.

“The reality is, the entertainment companies never really left,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. “But when we think of Hollywood, we think of big studios. We forget that the entertainment industry is a business of small businesses.”

Other areas, such as the Westside, Burbank, Glendale and Universal City may have seen a larger rate of growth of entertainment jobs in that time frame, but they also have the advantage of more top-of-the-line office space, something that the Hollywood community lacks, Kyser noted.

The Hollywood Economic Alliance — which includes about 150 executives from companies in the Hollywood area — is modeled after similar groups in the Silicon Valley and the San Fernando Valley aimed at improving the business climate.

The alliance has identified several initiatives to pursue in the community, including the creation of a media district providing incentives for businesses to locate or remain in the area; increasing public safety with ideas such as a private security force and rezoning of adult entertainment venues into designated areas; creating a new public relations campaign; and coordinating efforts with existing Hollywood organizations.

Another initiative would establish a target business district in the post-production areas of Hollywood to tackle issues such as safety, lighting and landscaping.

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