Television sustains Los Angeles' entertainment industry

MUMBAI: Television production is continuing a multi-year trend as the driving force behind Los Angeles' production industry.

A report by the Los Angeles' Entertainment Industry Development Corporation (EIDC) says that at the same time, local feature film production has declined significantly since its 1996 peak.

EIDC has determined television's growing impact by analysing 10-year data comparing on-location permits for film vs. television production, as well as new data gathered from a survey of major production companies.



The number of on-location permits processed by EIDC for television production increased steadily during each of the past three years. This trend continues during 2005, as year-to-data numbers are up slightly over last year. But the situation for movie production is less encouraging. Local on-location permits for feature films peaked in 1996, and steadily declined more than 47 per cent over the next seven years, before increasing slightly in 2004.



EIDC president Steve MacDonald says, "There's no question that incentives from other regions have been

effective in luring feature film production. We believe that feature production will not recover to the peak levels experienced during the mid-1990s without significant action by state and local government."

While feature film producers are increasingly opting to leave Los Angeles, MacDonald says at least for now television is helping the region defend its status as the world's entertainment production capital. "The increase in original programming by cable networks in recent years, combined with a shift away from reruns by the broadcast networks, has resulted in expanded TV production," MacDonald explained.

EIDC's survey of primetime broadcast TV production collected data about new, returning and mid-season replacement programmes scheduled to begin airing later this year on the broadcast networks. Full-season shows on broadcast networks typically produce 22 episodes per season, provided they are not cancelled during their production run. Mid-season replacements typically shoot 12 episodes per season, and begin airing in the winter. The exception is the reality genre, which produces anywhere from 6-22 episodes per season. Of the 134 scripted and reality episodic series on the primetime broadcast schedule, at least 96 (72 per cent) are being shot and produced in the Los Angeles area.

The financial impact of TV production on the regional economy is significant. Average production costs are estimated at $2 million per episode for one-hour dramas, $1.25 million per episode for half-hour scripted comedies, and $700,000 per episode for reality programs. These figures are just for costs directly related to production. They do not take into account

other costs such as marketing and studio administration.

MacDonald adds, "The impact of losing just one series to another region is considerable. For example, a single one-hour broadcast series that produces a full 22-episode season translates into $44 million in direct production-related activity for the local economy."

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