Creating the Foundation for a $5b Casting Market
If you don't know what casting is but you're interested in this article — read this first (2)
Casting is arguably the most important building block in entertainment. A company is only as successful as its team, and consumable entertainment is only as good as the characters that are cast. A Casting Director can cast an entire show, play, AD campaign, etc., but the achievement and tenacity of it are reliant upon the characters.
Despite its importance, the current model of casting is an outdated trade. Known in entertainment as an archaic industry with analog methods of workflow, the current casting process needs a glossy and new makeover. Imagine being an HR professional without recruiting tools (like Indeed or LinkedIn) to source talent. That's the abbreviated frustration of the casting industry. Awful, right?
But what is the value of casting? Is it worth a venture?
As our team built Casting Depot, I received a lot of inquiries about the TAM. It's a peculiar market to understand, especially if you don't work in our industry. So — the following is a market breakdown that we hope can be insightful to not only our users but to the outsiders looking in.
For perspective into our world, I'll explain the market size top-down. This will give you a better sense of the industry as a whole, and the crucial part that casting plays within it.
So — let's get started, shall we?
Casting indirectly touches every industry, even if you don't realize it. What we do builds the foundation for the content you consume. If Deloitte ran an AD campaign, someone would need to cast it. If Zynga wanted to create a YouTube series about their users in real life, someone would need to cast the gamers. When Paramount Pitcures creates their next box-office hit, someone would need to cast it.
You get the point.
More traditionally speaking, casting generally happens within the following verticals:
- Television (streaming, cable) & film (feature, indie)
- Digital content
- Music & Audio Recordings
- Video Games and Supplementary Services
Obviously, the biggest shift over the past few years has been in television, film, and digital content. As major networks and studios continue to launch their own direct-to-consumer streaming services in 2020, competitors are scrambling to offer content libraries broad enough to both attract and retain customers. With that, allocated casting and development budgets will skyrocket to meet that demand.
Take those numbers and multiple it by every major network, broadway show, and advertising company in the world. Pretty massive, right?
According to PWC, the U.S. entertainment and media industry is ~$703BN, which is expected to grow to $804BN by 2021. Our U.S. M&E market is 33% of the global M&E industry, which is the largest M&E market in the world. Other close leaders include India, Australia, and Mexico.
But let's address the burning question — what is the casting SOM? While there is an insignificant amount of studies done on casting, we can confidently say that casting accounts for ~1.5% — 2% of every budget. This percentage does not include talent fees. With that being said, as the original content industry continues to grow, casting budgets will be directly correlated. As of now, the casting industry is worth~$5BN.
How quickly is the content industry growing, you ask? Let's look at the streaming industry as an example.
According to the MPAA, there were 237.2 million users in 2019, 26% up from 2018, with a subscription to a streamer. More than 75% of adults watched movies and television shows on online subscription services, while more than 85% of children and more than 55% of adults watched movies/television shows on mobile devices. Cable networks saw this surge and thus, what became the "streaming wars" changed a significant portion of the casting industry. It changed _who and how quickly _we cast.
Unlike in the pre-2000's, casting no longer solely depends on relationships. It's a different era, and ultimately everything is done virtually (especially during COVID19 times). There are so many ways to cast and to be cast. It's a mess. There's not a single centralized source that connects every type of talent to high-valued gigs and vice versa, with a complete end-to-end workflow process. So now, we're looking at an industry that is not only disconnected due to the growth of demand but a workflow process that makes it difficult to communicate with others. How is a ~$5BN industry supposed to continue to grow when there is not a centralized database to source from and engage in?
When we went to create Casting Depot, we were eager to construct a foundation to support not only the professionals that cast, but also the talent that so desperately needed a reliable marketplace to book gigs. It's such a massive, decentralized market that we knew we had to build something that would give users the ability to create their own communities within our own. We dreamt of conversation bubbles in every type of casting — broadway actors, aspiring TV personalities, experts that wanted to be on CNBC, and so on. That was our first priority. So — we ultimately ended up building that infrastructure so our industry could choose how they'd want to cast and create.
It has been a privilege to work on a professional network with a deeply rooted purpose. I believe that as we continue to fine-tune our product, we will have a special impact on many careers in this industry.