FilmL.A. Research Issues 20-Year Film Production Retrospective

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Earlier this month, FilmL.A. Research published one of its most comprehensive reports ever. The new report, entitled “Filming On-Location in Los Angeles: 1993-2013,” analyzes patterns of growth and decline in local filming brought about by developments in the U.S. domestic film, television and commercial production market.

The report includes a detailed examination of filming trends across nine distinct project categories, with guidance on data interpretation for lay audiences. The report underscores the importance of efforts to attract and retain film production in Los Angeles and California, prompting reactions from prominent industry champions like Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles:

This report underscores the urgency of our work to reverse runaway production. The entertainment industry is a cornerstone of our civic identity and our economy, with 500,000 jobs at stake. I will cut red tape at City Hall and fight in Sacramento to make sure L.A. is the best possible place for production and ensure that we are always the entertainment capital of the world.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

  • Over time, the economic value of Feature projects made in Los Angeles has changed significantly. In 1997, the majority of large‐budget studio features were produced in California, with many in L.A. By 2013, most high‐value feature projects were made elsewhere. In Los Angeles, most local Feature production is for small, independent projects that offer reduced employment and spending benefits.
  • In 2013, L.A. based Feature production was up 21 percent compared to the category’s five‐year rolling average, but remains down 50 percent from its peak in 1996.
  • While L.A. based Television production has been recovering since 2009, from an employment and production spending standpoint most of the growth has been fueled by lower‐value Reality TV and Web‐Based TV production.
  • More TV Pilot projects were made in Los Angeles in 2013 vs. 2012. The desire for original programming on many cable networks and online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon caused a record 186 pilots to be produced in the 2012/2013 pilot development cycle. Unfortunately, because TV Pilot production is growing more rapidly outside Los Angeles and California, Los Angeles’ total share of U.S. domestic TV Pilot production declined. It now sits at 52 percent.

FilmL.A. updates its on-location production reports on a quarterly basis, and issues a television pilot production report annually. A new FilmL.A. Research report focused on domestic feature film production is slated for release later this year. To sign up to receive news of new reports, make sure that you join our mailing list.

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