SALARIES / SEP. 14, 2014
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The Film Industry Struggles to Keep Employment and Profits Up

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It looks like Hollywood may be struggling to keep business afloat.

A report by Market Watch says that while job opportunities are successfully being added to several professional industries in broadcast Media and other information services, California’s film industry is seeing employment records drop drastically.

New data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals how the motion pictures and sound recording industry has seen its employment rate drop by 19 percent from the summers of August 2013 to August 2014. 

The number of jobs within the motion picture and entertainment sector stood at 368,000 last summer. In August, there were 298,000 employees working in the movie industry.

Depleting numbers from June to August 2014 show just how fast employment is dropping. In June, 305,600 jobs were filled, but then that number dropped to 304,000 by July. Overall, the employment number dropped by 6 percent between July and August. 

The reason behind this devastating statistic is most likely associated with the growing popularity of self-employment and the convenience of modern technology.

According to one economics expert from California State University, film crews now have free will and can choose to be independent of Hollywood’s movie industry.

“Today, a lot of it can be done through technology,” said Professor Sung Sohn. “You can have just a few people sitting around a computer and produce a movie.”

Self-sufficient filmmakers are either going solo or gathering up their own team to produce independent projects. This is obviously a noticeable trend displayed on websites like YouTube and Vine.

On the other hand, employment declines could also be due to difficulties obtaining a job, which has now pushed film graduates and professionals to look for work in other career fields. 

However, a spokesperson for the Motion Picture Association of America says that prosperous employment growths in industries located in Georgia and Louisiana prove that job prospects are plentiful elsewhere.  

Additionally, sources say that resorting to cheaper tax incentives and production cost alternatives may be hurting the film industry.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month how one motion pictures corporation “plans to offer buyouts to an unspecified number of workers as part of a drive to increase profit.” 

Warner Bros. Studio—a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. (TWX)—is a California-based company that employs 7,400 workers.

Within the last year, the studio’s income endured a staggering 15 percent decrease in box office earnings and a 2.4 decrease in revenue related to theatrical performances. 

Buyouts were offered to 6 percent of the division’s employees following an unsuccessful $75 billion bid between Rupert Murdoch and Time Warner’s CEO. 

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara has now given an ultimatum that would force its employees to either take the offer or face termination.

While some do not want to face the truth that the film industry is facing troubling times, some are surely not in denial of the facts.

“In Southern California we know that this is a declining industry,” said Sohn.

 

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