From Silicon Valley to Hollywood: Growth and Development of the Multimedia Industry in California

The paper opens with an evocation of the industrial and commercial atmosphere of California and of the sources of the state’s innovative energies. The multimedia industry is then described in terms of its broad functional qualities and it interdependent relationships with a number of other sectors (the software and media industries in particular). The enterprise characteristics and product markets of California’s multimedia industry are described. Multimedia producers are shown to be locationally concentrated in dense specialized industrial districts in the Bay Area and Southern California. The specifications of a sample survey are discussed. Survey results indicate that California’s multimedia industry is highly flexible in its organizational structure and employment practices. A number of significant differences between the industry in the Bay Area and Southern California are also revealed. These differences revolve around (a) the comparatively greater emphasis on programming expertise and business-oriented outputs of Bay Area producers, and (b) a marked concentration on entertainment-oriented outputs among Southern Californian producers. The question of appropriate policies that enhance localized external economies in agglomerated production complexes are suggested. The possibility of a regional alliance between the Bay Area and Southern California in support of the multimedia industry is raised.