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TV Production Schedule Shift Boosts L.A. Filming

July 16, 2014 07:59 | By

LR-FilmL.A.-1-emailFilmL.A.1FilmL.A. updated its regional on-location filming report, showing a surge in television production for the second quarter of 2014. The organization, which serves as the official film office of the City of Los Angeles and surrounding areas, attributes the unexpected growth to production schedule shifts.

Traditional TV production schedules have indeed been thrown out of whack by the likes of Netflix, which launches entire seasons of a series at the same time, and Fox, which announced the death of pilot season with an R.I.P. sign saying, “Fox Pilot Season 1986-2013″ at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January. Fox intendeds to launch series throughout the year rather than sticking to the traditional September premiere-week launches.

In late June, FilmL.A. reported a huge drop in drama pilot production, and announced that New York had surpassed Los Angeles in the lucrative pilot market.

But today’s report found that regional on-location television production increased 33.7% over the prior year, totaling 5,761 (Permitted Production Days). Coincidentally, the category also exceeded its 5-year quarterly average by 33.7%. While FilmL.A. researchers attribute most of the apparent growth to seasonal production shifts, they note that the California Film & Television Tax Credit also provided a boost to TV dramas. Last quarter, TV was down 9.2%.

“FilmL.A. is committed to broadening understanding of California film industry trends and practices,” said FilmL.A. president Paul Audley. “Today’s report illustrates the challenges we sometimes face in interpreting film industry data. It’s crucial that observers understand the losses the region has already suffered, so as to view reported short-term gains with the proper perspective.”

In sharp contrast to the previous quarter, nearly all TV subcategories posted Q2 increases, among them TV drama (up 58.6% to 1,191 PPD), TV reality (up 64.1% to 2,550 PPD), TV sitcom (up 5.5% to 402 PPD) and web-based TV (up 3.4% to 379 PPD). TV pilot production declined 26.6% to 282 PPD.

Television’s weakness in Q1 was driven in part by production delays. Meanwhile, it seems more local crews are working to support the early summer premiere of new and returning shows. This pair of developments helped concentrate production into Q2, with unknown implications for the rest of 2014. FilmL.A. Research is readying a supplemental analysis of local TV drama production for release in early August.

As in quarters past, California’s film incentive contributed significantly to local production yields. Last quarter, 43.2% of area TV drama production (515 PPD) was generated by state-qualified projects. State-qualified television projects in L.A. included Legends, Major Crimes, Murder in the First and Teen Wolf.

Feature production declined 5.3% last quarter to 1,665 PPD, with 10.8% of the category (180 PPD) attributed to projects awarded the California film incentive. State-qualified feature projects included American Sniper, Entourage, Scouts vs. Zombies and The Purge 2.