LOS ANGELES, California — Silicon Beach, the rapidly-expanding tech and media corridor in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica, is the most “underestimated” technology production sector in the nation, according to mega-entrepreneur Peter Thiel. On Wednesday, the University of Southern California brought the various strands of coastal startup culture together in a day-long conference at the USC campus in downtown L.A.
Attendees included tech entrepreneurs–both local and global; legal advisers in the venture capital field; local political staffers; entertainment industry executives; and, of course, students looking closely at tech careers.
One of the hottest topics at the USC event was the transformation of television, which has been struggling to respond to the advent of streaming online content–and, occasionally, succeeding. As bundled cable, the staple of the industry for many years, has looked weaker, Hollywood studios have begun looking to the tech industry to discover, invest in, and co-opt innovations that can help the big studios deliver content to media consumers.
“The demand has never been greater, the number of eyeballs has never been higher,” said Douglas Montgomery, Vice President of Category Management at Warner Brothers. “But the money has been less.”
While the center of tech remains in Silicon Valley, the proximity of entertainment and media, plus a somewhat more affordable lifestyle and closer proximity to the beach, are making L.A. a serious player in the industry.