Here's a quick whitesheet Blake Haney and I cranked out today for the Louisiana Dept. of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. It's a nice encapsulation of a thriving emerging industry down here and how we think it could best be grown. This is also a subject that Annunciation Interactive will be exploring in greater detail soon with an upcoming project.
The State of the Interactive Media and Web Development Industry in Post-K New Orleans
Blake Haney, The Canary Collective and Jonah Langenbeck, Annunciation Interactive
Executive Summary In Post-Katrina New Orleans, interactive media and web development is an industry on the rise. There are a handful of companies that are flourishing and gaining national attention for their innovative approach both in their business practices and in the interactive media that they are generating for their clients.
People are rapidly moving away from the television as being the central source of information and the telephone as their main source of electronic communication. The internet has become a means by which an individual can connect with others on both the local and global level.
In an industry that thrives on change, these teams are delivering innovative media that capitalizes on our society’s growing dependence on the internet. While our local community is behind other cities of our size, there is a growing number of businesses that have taken the leap, making substantial investments in their online presence. As those numbers continue to grow so too will the firms that serve to help these businesses transform themselves.
As long as office rents remain cheap and abundant, the pool of available freelance talent strong, and as long as local businesses and non-profits continue to grow and thrive we see the industry surviving for the long haul.
Industry Breakdown There are a variety of enterprises operating in New Orleans and they seem to be thriving in three general models:
Studio Model: These studios are nurturing synergistic relationships with one another, collaborating on projects and internal initiatives to utilize interactive media to help deliver a broad range of innovative approaches to online marketing, ecommerce, and community building for their various clients.
Some of the most prominent companies working this way are Annunciation Interactive, Bent Media, and The Canary Collective (formally Whence: the studio). Their clientele range from local small & mid sized businesses to high profile national clients and NGOs.
Traditional Agency Model: Many of our local traditional advertising agencies such as The Netcom Group, Trumpet, Zehnder, Keating-Magee, and Peter Mayer Advertising have built their own small in-house interactive teams. They are using these teams to augment their multi-channel branding and advertising campaigns using interactive media.
Services & Consulting Model There’s also an emerging market that focuses specifically on niche, service based interactive marketing and development. Firms like Voodoo Ventures, Brian Oberkirch, Fabre Smith & Coco, and Killian Interactive are focusing on very specific niche services like outsourced development, social media consulting and search engine optimization.
Economic Impact Any sort of estimation that we make here will have to be completely anecdotal. What we do know is that between our two shops we expect to generate more revenue this year than in previous years. The industry is certainly currently generating millions of dollars in taxable revenue here in New Orleans.
Factors for Growth
Increased Tax Incentives We’d love to see a tax incentive system similar to other creative economy initiatives currently being used to attract filmmakers, video game developers and musicians to Lousiana. Tax credits or breaks would attract more talent to the pool and increase our operational bandwidth by bringing in more specialty firms and contractors.
Other Economic Development Activity Obviously any work done to bring new businesses here or to incent the growth of small and mid-size businesses locally will help our industry. We rely on business needs to operate and the more we have housed in proximity, the better.
Higher Education Initiatives Our local talent pool would also be strengthened by the development of more specific interactive curricula at the University and Community College level. Currently most university programs are either centered on traditional Fine Arts / Design concentrations or Computer Science or MIS/IT. We think there should be a greater initiative towards education that deals specifically with Web Development and Interactive Media. Obviously this is a tricky thing to accomplish but it’s something worth investigating.