Increased demand for content during the pandemic has led to a greater demand for production space
By: Randy Starbird, President, West Region
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the term “binge-watching” was a common household phrase. Of course, it has increased in popularity in the past year. As the hub of entertainment production, the uptick in “binge-watching” has increased the demand for content produced in the Los Angeles area, as residents clamor for more home entertainment to ride out the pandemic.
The demand for content has also led to a demand for the space to produce it. This has had a tremendous impact on entertainment construction in Los Angeles, which will be felt for years to come.
Clune has been witness to exponential growth in entertainment construction in the Los Angeles market since well before March, 2020. We continue to be inspired by the level of creativity that entertainment companies have put into the design and construction of their spaces.
With this growth, Clune’s West Region has worked to become experts in entertainment construction in order to grow our business and be a better resource to our clients. Our leadership has taken an all hands on deck approach to getting involved.
We’ve noticed a lot of creativity in entertainment builds vs. a traditional firm. There’s a lot of open ceilings, open concepts and a lot of fun areas with a beer tap, or coffee bar with full time baristas. Entertainment companies have always been about attracting employees.
Entertainment companies are also building spaces that reflect the artistic nature of their industry, and their desire to stay ahead of the curve and focus on employees. This is not only done to attract staff, but to retain them as well.
The significant increase in demand for streaming over the past year has increased the demand for spaces to house these services. As well, the scope of the facilities is also becoming more complex.
Clune recently completed a project that required structural isolation, or essentially a building within a building, to support a theatre. We installed the same amount of structural steel on the interior of this facility that is typically installed on an entire core and shell building. The installation of 190 tons of steel and a seating platform, on top of the attenuation requirements because it’s a theatre, was among the most complicated projects members of the project team has worked on.
Like other industries, entertainment will see a change in how its employees work, with working remotely becoming more commonplace. The industry has already seen delays in production as a result of this shift.
Before the pandemic, decisions about production were made more quickly because all parties were in the same room. These decisions are now being delayed, due to the current remote working environment. It is likely that companies will need to adapt to these delays. Even when COVID-19 disappears, as remote working will likely not go away with it.
Clune has also witnessed an exciting trend in expansion within these spaces. Entertainment clients often have different branches and departments, such as programming, content creation/development, and marketing. Because of the increasing demand for content, companies are hiring and expanding at a rapid pace. As a result, one department may outgrow the anticipated space before a project is completed. A space that was initially designed for the marketing department, for example, will require adjustments to accommodate programming as well. The result is a face-paced and exciting construction process.
Regardless of where entertainment employees will be working in the future, the industry’s rapid growth will likely not change.
Streaming companies have advanced their systems, and the need for post-production locations to edit a movie or a short series is growing rapidly. Clune is seeing clients acquire increasing amounts of property to develop more production studios. Companies are also building their own screening rooms, where they may have outsourced that in the past.
Despite the rapid pace of the entertainment industry, Clune does foresee a change in the workplace as a result of COVID-19. Providers will likely begin changing their protocols knowing that communicable diseases can easily be spread in smaller workspaces.
And the term binge-watching is not going anywhere soon.
About the Author:
Randy Starbird has been with Clune for more than 25 years. He started as an intern, and has risen through the ranks to President of the West Region. Randy has proven to be a strong leader, who has played a key role in growing the region by building strong relationships with clients and industry partners both locally and nationally. His efforts have also been instrumental in securing Clune as one of the region’s top ranked general contractors, and being recognized among the Best Places to work in Los Angeles. Starbird has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering – Building Science from the University of Southern California (USC).