Earlier this summer, FilmL.A. Research released its annual television pilot study. The 2014 Television Pilot Production Report provides updated insight into L.A.’s ongoing loss of new television pilot projects and promising series. Most notably, the 2013/2014 development cycle unfortunately saw New York (with 24 drama projects retained) dethrone Los Angeles (with 19 drama projects retained) to become North America’s most attractive location for one-hour TV pilot production.
FilmL.A.’s official count shows that 203 broadcast and cable television pilots were produced during the ‘13/’14 development cycle, making the past year the most productive on record by a large margin. Overall, Los Angeles retained only 90 projects (19 one-hour dramas and 71 half-hour comedies) out of 203 tracked during the ‘13/’14 development cycle, yielding a 44 percent pilot production share. This is the lowest on record by a wide margin and the first time on record that L.A.’s market share has dipped below 50 percent. Last year, L.A.’s pilot production share was 52 percent, and six years earlier, a commanding 82 percent.
Leading competitors – including New York (35 total projects), Vancouver (17 total projects), Atlanta (12 total projects) and Toronto (8 total projects) – continue to gain ground on Los Angeles by attracting pilot producers with class-leading film incentive programs.
Most of the pilot projects shot outside California were lucrative one-hour drama series produced for network, cable, or new media distribution. Including “straight-to-series” orders favored by new media content producers like Netflix, these projects cost $6 to $8 million to produce and employ 150-230 people during production. In all, there were 91 drama pilots produced outside Los Angeles in the ‘13/’14 development cycle, whittling L.A.’s share down to just 17 percent of drama projects, another record low. This represents a decline of 73 percent from the peak in ’06/’07, when L.A.’s drama share was a commanding 63 percent.
Meanwhile, L.A.’s share of comedy pilots produced in ‘13/’14 dropped to 76 percent, down from 83 percent during the previous cycle and substantially lower than the 91 percent share L.A. enjoyed back in ‘11/’12.
Despite the unfortunate declines Los Angeles has sustained, the report also included some encouraging news. As one example, the California Film & Television Tax Credit program has helped reverse a tiny amount of runaway production. In 2014, the program has enabled seven television series that filmed their pilot episodes and/or prior seasons from outside of the state. As a result, these seven productions will spend more than $170 million in the state and sustain over 30,000 full & part-time positions.
Those interested in reading the full report can download it here.