Latest NewsNovember 14, 2014
Study Reveals $36.3 Billion Economic Impact of the Interactive Media Industry in Washington State
Cluster responsible for as many as 76,200 jobs throughout the state with average annual salary of $91,000
SEATTLE (November 14, 2014) — The interactive media industry in Washington State generated a total of $36.3 billion in direct, indirect and induced revenues in 2013 and supports—either directly or through multiplier effects—as many as 76,200 jobs according to a comprehensive study commissioned by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County (EDC). Interactive media wages in general are significantly higher than the state median wage of $56,444, averaging $91,000 per year. The industry, as a whole, paid nearly $6.1 billion in wages in 2013.
The Interactive Media Industry Assessment was conducted by Seattle-based research firm Community Attributes and was released today at an event focused on the video game industry hosted by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Upon receipt of a $1.2 million federal grant to grow and accelerate the Interactive Media industry in the region, the EDC commissioned an update of an earlier Interactive Media Cluster Study for 2013. The industry continues to experience rapid evolution and growth, and this study includes updates and refinement of previous work, and draws qualitative findings from industry-wide online and in-person surveys.
“The EDC has always been supportive of the Interactive Media Industry in our region as we work to attract and grow these companies in King County, and it is exciting to see how impactful the industry has become, including the significant job growth just in the last seven years,” said Suzanne Dale Estey, President & CEO of the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. “And it’s not just about gaming anymore. Interactive Media technologies touch our lives in so many ways through applications ranging from educational, to cutting edge research, to healthcare.”
The proliferation of devices, the ubiquity of screen-based content delivery and cloud services provision has widened the breadth of companies considered part of Interactive Media. Increasingly, the industry is typified by companies that develop and distribute games, applications for mobile devices and tablets, and provide services online including advertisers and retailers. Software development, web development and design, and animation are key occupations in Interactive Media.
Industry wide, revenues declined from $9.7 billion to $8.0 billion between 2009 and 2010 before rebounding the next three consecutive years and reaching an estimated $9.6 billion in 2013. The job outlook for the sector also appears rosy, with occupations aligned with Interactive Media (Computer and Mathematical and Arts, Design, and Media occupations) projected to be some of the fastest growing between 2016 and 2021, with 1.7% and 1.6% growth respectively, compared with 1.1% growth for all occupations.
“The City of Redmond is home to a number of Interactive Media companies including Washington’s biggest, Microsoft and Nintendo,” said Bart Phillips, CEO of OneRedmond. “These high-wage jobs and high-growth companies support our vibrant Eastside communities and help make this an attractive place for new companies to start and grow.” The Washington Interactive Network, which was founded to help grow and support the Interactive Media industry, began as a program of Washington State, received significant support from the EDC during the past eight years, and is now housed under the umbrella of OneRedmond.
Incentives play a crucial role in Interactive Media companies’ decisions of whether and where to start up, to headquarter, and to relocate. Washington offers one of the most competitive tax environments for an Interactive Media company in the country. But support for the industry extends beyond a favorable tax climate. The City of Redmond is the State’s designated Interactive Media and Digital Arts Innovation Partnership Zone, which is a formal designation by the State Department of Commerce that promotes unique hubs of innovation.
“The results from this study help portray the magnitude and powerful impact of the video game industry in our region,” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “To support efforts to attract and retain these companies here, we must work towards increasing STEM degree attainment so that we can grow the talent to meet the demands of these cutting-edge companies.”
Interactive Media companies with headquarters elsewhere in the U.S. continue to expand and place satellite offices in the Greater Seattle region, primarily to take advantage of the highly-skilled and talented workforce and the growing ecosystem of companies. Recent examples include GoDaddy in Kirkland, Oculus VR in Redmond, SMART Technology in Seattle, and F5’s expansion into Bellevue . Articles in trade media list 15 tech businesses with headquarters outside the region who have located in Seattle between 2010 and 2013. Expansions include Google in Kirkland and Bothell, and Facebook, Twitter and Apple in Seattle.
But even among all the big name players entering the region, smaller gaming startups and entrepreneurs are flourishing. “A few years ago, I decided to launch my own game studio. Anyone who has done it will tell you starting a company anywhere is a challenge, but I’m glad a decided to do it in Seattle,” said Robby Zinchak, Founder of Archive Entertainment. “Working alongside other similarly passionate entrepreneurs and creators in the industry gave me inspiration, and the deep wisdom of the established development community here gave me the tactical know-how to actually pull it off.”
To download the full study, go to: www.EDC-SeaKing.org/IMreport.
About the Economic Development Council Seattle and King County Founded in 1971, the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County (EDC) is a public-private economic development partnership encompassing King County and its 39 cities. The organization serves as the first point of contact for site selection consultants and company analysts looking to expand or relocate businesses in King County. The EDC provides one-on-one, confidential consulting services, free-of-charge, to individual businesses seeking to establish, expand or relocate to Seattle and King County. For more information, visit us online at http://edc-seaking.org/.
About Community Attributes Community Attributes is a firm that “tells data-rich stories about communities that are important to decision-makers.” The firm serves clients with economic and demographic analysis, as well as facilitation and management consulting, in strategic planning, urban and regional planning and commercial development. The small and growing firm includes economists, business analysts, geographers, real estate development specialists and urban planners. For more information, visit www.communityattributes.com.
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