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Economic Impact Study from Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Shows Growth of Television over Film in NYC



The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) for New York City has released its 2021 Economic Impact Study for the Film and Television industry in NYC. As with the recent FilmLA report, New York production is reported to be returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to Film Commissioner Anne del Castillo.

You can read that full study here, but essentially, it says that the industry generated $18 billion in wages and $81.6 billion in economic output over the 15-year study that covers up until 2019. The high point for the study led to 80 television series and 300 feature films.

According to the report, the film and television industry includes: motion picture and video production; talent; subscription programming; television broadcasting; advertising and media buying; post-production and other services; and distribution and consumption. The state tax credits introduced in 2010 and the increase in content needed for streaming has helped the industry to recover following the brutal way that the COVID pandemic hit the industry in 2020. The current tax credit runs through 2025.

Television continues to lead the way, and it’s the first part of the  industry that ramped back up to pre-pandemic levels after the pandemic threatened to decimate production.

Deadline spoke with del Castillo, who told them, “On average, we have the same number of shows pre-pandemic. It’s really busy. We have 34 or more projects filming in August in TV, and we are starting to see some feature films coming back. My hope is that the report shows people what we had, and what we are working back towards. The industry has an impact that is beyond itself.” She leads the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, or MOME.

“From a very practical standpoint, what this study does is show the return on investment from production,” she continued. “The state tax credit is $420 million. There is a ton of production happening outside of the city in neighboring areas, as well as here. It is $82 billion in economic activity – $60 billion is direct activity. So $60 billion from a $420 million investment is a pretty good return. It’s really hard to beat.”

According to the report (via Deadline), shifts in television production models and higher-budgeted shows have buyoed the NYC industry, stating: “The production of more full seasons year-round has helped create more consistent, high-wage employment opportunities in the sector… When HBO debuted Boardwalk Empire in 2010, its production budget seemed extravagant, with $20 million for the pilot and $5 million for each subsequent episode. Television shows produced since then make earlier budgets look modest,” the report says, citing the bigger-budgeted television series shot in NYC since 2015, including the single season of The Get Down with $149 million in NYC spending and 5,500 hires (roughly $11 million per episode); Gotham, Season 2, at $111 million and 4,800 hires; and the single season of Vinyl at $105 million and 5,400 hires ($7 million per episode). HBO‘s The Deuce was another expensive series at $12 million per episode.

This shift in budgets and TV spending is the main reason why television is outpacing film, because the latter mostly consists of independent production.

According to the report, 78 film productions received tax credits in New York City in 2018, spending $389 million and hiring 34,000 locally. By comparison, 70 television productions spent $2.6 billion and hired 167,000 locally. The average film production had a local spend of $4.5 million vs. the average television production, which is closer to $34 million.

The report also mentions the ongoing competition for soundstage space as NYC production grows with new soundstages being opened to keep up with demand.

As of 2020, the city is reported to have 1.8 million square feet of QPF capacity with some of the newer and upcoming spaces including:

Silvercup North: 115k sf, 295 Locust Avenue, Bronx, opened 2016

Broadway Stages: 67-acre Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, Staten Island, opened 2017
Broadway Stages: 23.5k sf, 45-10 19th Ave, Astoria, plans announced 2020
Broadway Stages: 180k sf, 277 Monitor Street, Brooklyn, opened 2016

Kaufman Astoria: 150k sf addition, plans announced 2019

Steiner Studios Made in NY production facility: 500k sf, Bush Terminal, Brooklyn, plans announced 2020

York Studios (new studio): 170k sf, 1410 Story Ave, Bronx, plans announced 2019

Netflix production facility (new studio): 131k sf, 333 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, plans announced 2019 • Wildflower Studios (new studio): 650k sf, 87 19th Ave, Astoria, plans announced 2019

The study closed with the recommendation for NYC “to continue to evaluate the city’s soundstage capacity and demand and explore future expansions as needed.”

You can read the full 84-page Economic Impact Study here and learn more about the state of New York City production at MOME’s website.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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