Entertainment hub not the right brand

I am happy that U2 is about to rock the hill here in Moncton – although after toying with the idea for weeks, I decided against going.

From an economic development perspective, however; I want to reiterate my objection to former Premier Graham’s comment that “Saint John was the energy hub, Fredericton was the IT hub and Moncton was the entertainment hub”.  If that was the priority of government, Moncton would have drawn the short end of the stick.

Entertainment is an important sector of the economy.  It supports quality of life objectives. It supports the tourism sector.  It gives some visibility to a community (particularly things like large concerts).   But in terms of branding a community or making entertainment a primary focus, I think that is more problematic.

Wage levels in entertainment, food service, accommodation and other related sectors are at the low end of the scale.  In contrast, energy and IT wage levels are well above average.  That alone should give pause to those who like the idea of entertainment.

So let’s have fun.  A tip of the hat to city hall for attracting these concerts.  But the branding should be about something more ambitious.

4 thoughts on “Entertainment hub not the right brand

  1. I don’t think anybody in Moncton sees the city merely as an entertainment hub. The concerts and similar events are just one aspect of something more general.

    Specifically, Moncton has benefited greatly from the transportation infrastructure developed in the 80s and 90s, especially the highways and the airport. It is the transportation and communications hub of Atlantic Canada.

    This has drawn into the city a wide range of services. Perhaps the most visible, outside the entertainment industry, have been health services; there has been an explosion of clinics, specialist services, and other health-related ventures in the last decade.

    Moncton will eventually also be the regional hub for the electronics and information services industry (which requires very good air connections) but government policy has been slowing this down. Moncton is also a natural location for processing (or agricultural, forestry and marine products) and shipping, but a local monopoly makes grown in this industry stagnant.

  2. To make a comparison, how much money flows into Hollywood as an ‘entertainment hub’. There is a BIG difference between being a consumer of entertainment, and being a creator of it. In the creation of it, you develop a market and jobs, in being a consumer, well, frankly, once the concert is over, what is the economic impact of people who sit around saying “hey, remember when we blew a hundred dollars to see U2”?

  3. Mike makes a good point. With technology like Skype we can attract knowledge workers such as in IT (startups and consultants) – for them to work remotely from the beauty and solitude of New Brunswick. The can be much higher paying than call centre jobs – we’re talking in the 80-$100/hr range or more for roles like integration developer or architects. For any naysayers, I moved here a year ago and found contracts for large remote US and Canadian clients. No need to be in a large city anymore.

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