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3 ways to grow Georgia digital media industries

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The media and entertainment industries generate $14.7 billion per year in revenue for Georgia. It includes 40,000 employees and more than 700 local companies, according to a new Technology Association of Georgia report.  

The media and entertainment industries, especially in film, television, music and e-sports, show a strong growth trajectory, according to the report. The COVID-19 pandemic caused some slowdowns, but the industries affected are expected to recover and continue to grow. 

Georgia’s generous tax credit structure for production companies is often cited as a major reason for the film industry’s growth. Atlanta icon Ted Turner started a legacy of innovation in the broadcast industry with the 24-hour news cycle. The booming startup ecosystem is also advancing new technologies in streaming, video, esports and content. 

Complete the film industry ecosystem 

Georgia is typically considered a hub for film production, such as using local spots to shoot scenes. It also has infrastructure for the technical work in pre- and post-production. But now the state is starting to see more content developed here, TAG President Larry Williams said. 

“We’ve always felt like the missing slice of the pie was the creative side — the scriptwriting or creating the concept,” Williams said. 

Attracting the content creators to Georgia makes the local film industry more resilient, Williams said. If people from all aspects of the industry are local — from scriptwriters to funders to production crews — then the industry growth is more likely to be permanent.  

Encourage e-sports 

Metro Atlanta is considered a hot market for the fast-growing video game and e-sports industry. It is home to well-known game development companies such as Hi-Rez Studios, Blue Mammoth and Scientific Games International. 

Skillshot Media is the latest esports company to relocate intown and joins Atlanta Esports Ventures in planning Atlanta gaming headquarters.   

E-sports has enjoyed a “meteoric rise with revenues approaching $1 billion worldwide,” according to the TAG report. Atlanta has an opportunity to capture that emerging market, especially if policymakers and academic institutions continue to support that industry.  

Georgia already has a tax incentive structure under the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act to attract more gaming development, according to the report. The Georgia High School Association recognizes esports as an office sport, and Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University have e-sports teams.  

Increase collaboration 

TAG created the media and entertainment report to connect people within the industries, said Louis Gump, co-chair of TAG Media & Entertainment Society.  

“There are world-class people doing all sorts of cool things around Atlanta and the state of Georgia,” Gump said. “And many of us don’t know how to find each other.” 

The report acts as a guide for the community to foster more collaboration among the different companies. Atlanta’s startup ecosystem is an example of how collaboration could accelerate growth. 

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Tech Square innovation district brings together startups, university resources and corporations. The district in Midtown is the nucleus for Atlanta’s tech growth, which has lured thousands of jobs in the past two years and brought in record amounts of venture capital

Local entertainment and media companies could create similar relationships to strengthen that business community, Gump said. 

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