Explaining Southern California's economy

In SoCal business news: Jay-Z unveiled; mixed housing; 'Midnight Rider' moves to LA?

Budweiser Made in America Festival - Day 2

Charles Sykes/Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Solange performs on day 2 of the 2013 Budweiser Made in America festival on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013 in Philadelphia.

Good afternoon.  Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday, our staff compiles a list of interesting business stories in the region.

  • "Midnight Rider," the film that shut down in Georgia after a crew member was killed, could resume production in L.A. In February, camera assistant Sarah Jones died when a train barreled through the production of the Gregg Allman biopic, sparking investigations. Now, a vice president of the union IATSE says the film's producers plan to resume production in Los Angeles in June, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Made in America fest is coming to Los Angeles.  Rapper/businessman Jay-Z joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials to announce that the festival will happen Aug. 30 and 31 in downtown's Grand Park, potentially drawing 50,000 people a day. (KPCC)
  • The two sides of the of the Southern California housing market. Sales of high-dollar homes are on the rise, but the same can't be said for low to medium-priced homes.  Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Assn. of Realtors, tells the L.A. Times: "Housing affordability is really taking a bite out of the market."
  • The Los Angeles Register debuts Wednesday...but apparently not on the newsstands where KPCC reporter Ben Bergman went looking. Have you seen it?
  • Plans to re-open the Paramount Drive-In movie theater. It opened in 1947. Eight years later, it became the site of a popular swap-meet by day. In 1992, the movies stopped, but the swap meet continued. Now, the son of the original Drive-In's founder wants to bring the movies back ... on two giant screens with digital projectors and a new sound system. (Long Beach Press-Telegram)
  • USC and USA Today team up. The USC Marshall School of Business’ Sports Business Institute and the USA Today Sports Media Group are partnering to create Fields of Green, a website devoted to covering the business of sports. (Ben Bergman/KPCC). One of the site's lead articles today is about the evolution of the billion-dollar ticketing industry, written by Tony Knopp, the founder and CEO of Calabasas-based Spotlight TMS, profiled on KPCC's Take Two


Southern California Edison plans layoffs and outsourcing of some work

Southern California Edison

Grant Slater/KPCC

A Southern California Edison sign outside the San Onofre Nuclear Plant. The company is planning layoffs and outsourcing.

Southern California Edison plans to lay off workers and outsource certain functions as part  of "ongoing efforts to act as cost effectively and prudently as possible in operations for its customers,"  the utility company said Tuesday. 

In a statement, Southern California Edison said it hadn't finalized the number of employee cuts, but State Senator Alex Padilla told the Los Angeles Times that the number of workers affected by the cuts could be as high as 500 employees and the same number of contractors. Padilla chairs the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and had been briefed about coming layoffs. 

Southern California Edison employs about 14,000 people. Travis Miller, director of Utilities Research at Morningstar says utility companies set their management and employee levels in line with growth in their customer bases and, in the case of SoCal Edison, demand for electricity. In the last few years, Miller says, between a rise in energy efficiency and a softening economy, that demand has fallen off or remained flat, but utilities are still adjusting. 


USC partnering with USA Today on sports business website

David Carter

Brian Watt / KPCC

David Carter of USC’s Sports Business Institute, which is entering into a partnership with USA Today on a sports business website.

The USC Marshall School of Business’ Sports Business Institute and the USA Today Sports Media Group are partnering to create Fields of Green, billing itself as a first-of-its-kind online platform covering sports business.

“It’s a niche that no one else is filling, and a tremendous opportunity to shed light on the developments driving the sports business industry today,” said David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute, in a statement. 

Carter told KPCC there is a revenue sharing agreement between the parties, without going into further detail. 

Initially at least, the site features a combination of articles of interest to a broader audience – such as how much athletes pay in taxes and which sports pay the highest salaries – along with more niche items – such as Under Armour making a deal with Masters youth sensation Jordan Spieth.


Incentives help boost LA's on-location feature film production

Justified 2012 Season Finale

FX Networks

FX's "Justified" is one of several TV dramas that have received incentives under California's film and TV tax credit program.

FilmL.A., the non-profit that issues permits for on-location motion picture, television and commercial production, said Monday financial incentives have helped boost on-location feature production in the area.

On-location feature production increased 24 percent to 1,588 permitted production days in the first quarter, according to a report by FilmL.A., which handles film permits for the City and County of Los Angeles. That amount was higher than the category's five-year average.

"Virtually all of it is related to films that have been able to get the California film and television tax credit," said FilmL.A.'s president Paul Audley. 

California currently offers $100 million annually in tax credits for certain films and TV shows, but Audley doesn't believe that's enough to compete with other states and countries. There are efforts in the state legislature to expand the state's program and Audley would like to see the tax credits at least match New York's $420 million.


In SoCal business news: SoCal Edison layoffs, former San Diego Chargers player files lawsuit against Nike

Jacksonville Jaguars v San Diego Chargers

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Former Chargers player Shawne Merriman is suing Nike, according to U-T San Diego. In 2010, Linebacker Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers fights against the block of tackle Eugene Monroe #75 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium on in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 38-13.

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

  • Bad news for some SoCal Edison workers. The company plans to lay off 500 "in-house employees" and 400 to 500 contract workers (Los Angeles Times). Reporter Marc Lifsher says most of the cuts will happen in Irwindale. 
  • Former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman sues Nike (U-T San Diego). Reporter Jonathan Horn says Merriman believes Nike's "Lights Out" clothing line violates his trademark.
  • An Herbalife shareholder filed a class action lawsuit against the company for allegedly "failing to disclose to investors that its operations were based on a pyramid scheme" (Reuters). Last month, Herbalife said it is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (KPCC).
  • China Film Co. makes first investment into Hollywood films (The Hollywood Reporter). Reporter Clifford Coonan says China's state-owned film company is making an "eight-figure equity investment" in two Legendary Entertainment films, "Seventh Son" and "Warcraft." China has been increasing its investment in entertainment. Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America told KPCC last year that China is building 13 movie screens a day.
  • Expect a crowd at the first-ever U.S. China Film & TV Industry Expo in September at the L.A. Convention Center (Los Angeles Times). Reporter Richard Verrier says the event is "aimed at broadening business relationships between film and TV producers in the U.S. and China."
  • Marketers are experimenting with new ways to get their message across. One of the platforms is Snapchat, which lets users post items for a limited period of time before its deleted. Ad Age takes a look at how Taco Bell filmed a Snapchat video with an iPhone that would only be seen on Snapchat for 24 hours.
  • Don't forget to file your taxes today. The City News Service has a list of post offices that will be open late. Also, there will be free chocolate chip cookies from the DoubleTree at the Santa Monica Promenade in light of tax day (Los Angeles Magazine).