Media Map: East Is East, West Is Newest
When Johnny Carson moved “The Tonight Show” from New York to “beautiful downtown Burbank” back in 1972, it was the opening volley in a battle for media supremacy and relevance. I think it’s now safe to declare a winner. Let’s face it: When it comes to the Culture Wars, the East Coast can claim old media, but the West dominates in everything new.
Sure, the TV networks and book publishers still have their power breakfasts in Manhattan. But watching TV on actual TVs and reading actual books have long been on the decline. Smartphones, tablets, e-readers…the driving forces behind these are all in the West, as are the leaders in Multichannel Networks (MCNs) and gaming technology.
Also originating from the West is an increasing amount of the creative video content, branded entertainment, advertising and gaming viewed on these carriers. While Silicon Valley is the original granddaddy of the startup community, much of what’s cool in apps and video today originates from Los Angeles/Santa Monica/Orange County, the epicenter for creative and video innovation.
LA’s Silicon Beach has become a legitimate technology community, with an emphasis on entertainment and branding. Stop in at any Starbucks in the area, and you’ll run into workers from Google, YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Electronic Arts, Dun & Bradstreet and Microsoft, as well as those from such L.A.-based firms as Snapchat, Machinima, Social Gaming Network and Dedicated Media.
The city’s video content, branding, social media and ad leaders and connectors also include Funny or Die, Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Internet Branders, Epoxy TV and Famebit. By contrast, New York’s Silicon Alley has Vimeo and Foursquare, although the latter seems to be headed for MySpace’s fate – minus the Fox bailout. The Washington, D.C., area has spawned AOL and not much since. Boston is home to a bunch of hopefuls you probably haven’t heard of. (Paydiant, anyone?)
According to figures compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, in the first nine months of 2014, venture capitalists invested $1.6 billion in startups based in Los Angeles and Orange County, up 26% over 2013. Much of that money is focused on the video format and the complementary ecosystem including creative, advertising, adtech, content planning, content creation, content distribution/syndication and tracking/analytics.
And I won’t even gloat about our weather.