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L.A. losing top spot as preferred film, TV shoot location

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The greater Los Angeles area continues to be the top filming location in the United States for scripted entertainment content, but it’s being outpaced by growth in competing locations, according to a report released Tuesday.

Growth in the region’s total production was less than 1% between 2021 and 2022, compared to a 4% growth in total industry output and significant growth in competing jurisdictions, according to FilmLA.

The group’s Scripted Content Study analyzed projects produced between 2021-2022. The report examined four categories, including television series (streaming, cable and broadcast); original, made-for-cable movies; first-run feature films in theatrical release; and original feature films made for streaming services.

Approximately 1,000 projects meet these criteria and are distributed each calendar year, according to the organization. In previous years, FilmLA issued separate reports on the film and television sectors.

“The change our industry has undergone over the past few years is profound,” FilmLA President Paul Audley said. “Here, in a moment where many predict a reduction in industry output, this study establishes a baseline for us to understand the challenges ahead.”

In contract to the LA area’s relatively flat growth rate, the United Kingdom and the state of Georgia posted year-over-year increases ranging from 50% to 200%, with the exception of theatrical release movies, achieving high rates of production capture across multiple production categories, according to researchers.

“Greater Los Angeles’ main competitors share two features in common: substantial production support infrastructure and strong production tax incentives,” the report stated. “As media companies look to trim their budgets amid Wall Street pressure to lower costs, it can be safely assumed that production centers offering the best balance of these features will become even more desirable to U.S. producers.”

California and New York have film incentive programs with annual funding caps and sunset dates. California’s film incentive is valued at $330 million per year and New York recently raised its annual funding cap from $420 million to $700 million.

“California’s less robust incentive and rapidly expanding studio infrastructure in other jurisdictions will likely limit the Golden State’s ability to attract film and television projects in the future,” according to the report.

FilmLA is a not-for-profit organization and the official film office of the city and county of Los Angeles. The group intends to publish updates to the report on an annual basis.

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