Explaining Southern California's economy

MTV VMAs will bring $50 million in economic activity to LA County

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Beyonce arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) August 28, 2011 at the Noika Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, California.

The MTV Video Music Awards will return to the West Coast in August, bringing in millions of dollars in economic activity.

The VMAs will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, which reopened earlier this year after a $100 million renovation. The VMAs will be the first major awards show in the revamped space.

"The Forum has hosted some of the most legendary musical artists and performances ever seen and we can't wait to add the 2014 Video Music Awards to this list and create the type of memorable moments that music fans will talk about for years to come," said Stephen Friedman, MTV's president in a press release.

RELATED: Not the new kid in town: The Forum in Inglewood reopens with the Eagles

The VMAs are known for its jaw-dropping and water cooler moments, from Britney Spears and Madonna kissing to Miley Cyrus twerking. Last year's awards took place in Brooklyn and the last time the VMAs were in L.A. was in 2012 at the Staples Center. 


In SoCal business news: Sriracha founder could open more factories, Amazon Prime-HBO deal doesn't include Game of Thrones

Sharon McNary/KPCC

David Tran with an air filter atop his Sriracha chili sauce factory.

Good morning! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday morning, we compile a list of interesting business stories in the region.

  • Sriracha creator Huy Fong Foods could open other facilities elsewhere, in places like Texas (Pasadena Star-News). CEO David Tran tells reporter Sarah Favot the company will "outgrow" its Irwindale factory in three years. But KPCC's Brian Watt says moving out of Irwindale would be a complicated endeavor.
  • Amazon Prime users will get to stream older HBO shows like "The Sopranos" (Associated Press). But you'll have to wait to watch the Red Wedding. The deal doesn't include current popular shows like "Game of Thrones" (Variety). 
  • San Diego County has the lowest office leasing activity since 2009 (U-T San Diego). Reporter Roger Showley says the decline could be due to higher rental rates and taxes. 
  • Studios and TV producers are using software to help them take down pirated videos on YouTube or make money off of them (The Wrap).
  • MTV Video Music Awards is coming to The Forum next year (The Hollywood Reporter). The Forum was reopened earlier this year after a $100 million makeover (KPCC)
  • L.A. tourism grows at a slower pace than other top cities because there aren't enough hotel rooms here (Los Angeles Times).
  • Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, who denies being the creator of bitcoin, wants to "hug" his supporters for giving him more than $20,000 worth of bitcoins (San Francisco Chronicle). 


Time Warner starts 'major' network upgrade in Los Angeles

Martin Abegglen/flickr Creative Commons

The upgrades are part of an initiative Time Warner announced earlier this year to improve its network.

And now some news from Time Warner that doesn't involve the Dodgers.

The company announced it's upgrading its network with "major internet speed increases" in Covina, Cypress, Hoover, Crenshaw District, and Jefferson Park. Residential customers in Costa Mesa and West Hollywood have already received upgrades.

Time Warner says customers who subscribe to the Standard Internet plan, which formerly delivered speeds up to 15 Mbps, will now receive up to 50 Mbps, and customers who subscribe to the Ultimate plan, formerly up to 100 Mbps, will receive up to 300 Mbps. (You need a DOCSIS 3.0 modem to take advantage of the upgrade)

The upgrades are part of an initiative Time Warner announced earlier this year to improve its network. The company says all of Los Angeles should be receiving the higher speeds by the end of the year.


In SoCal business news: Allergan gets $40 billion bid, Netflix exec says issues surrounding House of Cards tax credits are "overcome-able"


Kevin Spacey stars as Frank Underwood in the Netflix show "House Of Cards."

Good morning! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday morning, we compile a list of interesting business stories in the region.

  • A competitor wants to buy Irvine-based botox maker Allergan in a deal worth $40 billion (Orange County Register). Reporters Bernard Wolfson and Marni Usheroff say the bid, from Valeant Pharmaceuticals and activist shareholder William Ackman, was unsolicited.
  • House of Cards didn't get all the tax credits it wanted from the Maryland legislature, but Netflix's chief content officer says "these are overcome-able issues." (Deadline).
  • Could the Supreme Court's ruling on Aereo change cloud computing? (re/code). Mitch Stolz from the Electronic Frontier Foundation tells re/code, “Under the hood, what Aereo is doing is storing TV programs at the request of a user and transmitting to the user’s device. You put those together and that’s a lot like what a lot of cloud services do, too.” Aereo isn't available on the West Coast (KPCC).
  • Exide lays off more than 120 employees at its troubled Vernon plant (KPCC). Correspondent Molly Peterson says the layoffs "don’t necessarily mean the Vernon facility is closing for good."
  • Long Beach Airport's executive director Mario Rodriguez will leave his position to work for the Indianapolis Airport Authority (Press-Telegram).
  • L.A. officials continue to push to bring rail to LAX (New York Times).
  • The number of San Fernando Valley homes for sale was up 50 percent for the month of March (Los Angeles Daily News).
  • Maker Studios partners with Nylon to create its first-scripted drama series (Deadline). Maker will be bought by Disney later this year (KPCC). 
  • Chaminade College Preparatory is bringing their robot, Legacy, to the FIRST Robotics World Championship (Daily News). Reporter Susan Abram says the robot can throw a yoga ball 26 feet.


Study: Oil industry major driver of California economy

Fracking In California Under Spotlight As Some Local Municipalities Issue Bans

David McNew/Getty Images

Pump jacks and wells are seen in an oil field on the Monterey Shale formation where gas and oil extraction using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is on the verge of a boom on March 23, 2014

Every few years, the Western States Petroleum Association runs the hard numbers on how much money and how many jobs gush from oil and gas production.  The lobbying group for the oil industry isn’t shy about the power of black gold in the Golden State.  

Its latest study, produced by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, says the petroleum industry was responsible for 468,000 California jobs in 2012.  WSPA president Catherine Reheis-Boyd says nearly half of those jobs are in the six counties of Southern California, and Los Angeles County in particular.

"When you look at Los Angeles County alone, it earns  $5.2 billion annually in tax revenues that are generated by the petroleum industry," Reheis-Boyd says.  "And nearly 6.5 % of Los Angeles County’s entire economic output can be traced to the petroleum industry."