Overall on-location production jumped 17.6 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2012 (13,361 PPD in 2013 vs. 11,360 PPD in 2012)*. FilmL.A. attributes the growth to strong showings in the Features and Television production categories, as well as the less economically influential Still Photography category.
Feature production in the Los Angeles region increased 25.5 percent for the quarter, bringing total PPD logged to 1,279. The first quarter is typically a slower season for feature film production in Los Angeles, so the early increase could bode well for the rest of 2013.
As it has every quarter since its introduction, the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program did its part to bring new Feature projects to the Los Angeles region. State- qualified Feature projects generated 171 PPD last quarter – 13.4 percent of the quarterly total.
State-qualified Feature projects in L.A. included 10 Things I Hate About Life, Dark Skies, and Walk of Shame.
Following a year of troubling losses for on-location Television production, the first quarter brought double-digit gains for nearly all Television subcategories. The TV Pilot subcategory (up 37.3 percent to 460 PPD) led the way, followed by TV Sitcom (up 36.9 percent to 608 PPD), Web-Based TV (up 35.4 percent to 539 PPD), and TV Drama (up 22.4 percent to 1,260 PPD). The TV Reality subcategory grew less in proportion (up 2.1 percent to 1,591 PPD) but still figured prominently in quarterly returns.
Overall, the Television category posted a 19.0 percent gain for the quarter compared to the same period in 2012. It’s the strongest first quarter TV has seen since 2007 – encouraging since the quarter contains much of the traditional broadcast pilot season.
The California Film and Television Tax Credit is available to television producers who meet the state’s strict qualification criteria. Last quarter, a number of Los Angeles- based television projects took advantage of the credit, among them Body of Proof, Bunheads, Franklin and Bash, Justified, Major Crimes, Rizzoli and Isles, and Teen Wolf. State-qualified Television projects generated 176 PPD – 3.5 percent of the category’s total (and 13.0 percent of local TV Drama production).
Production in the Still Photography category jumped significantly for the period (up 51.8 percent to 2,561 PPD). The category is not seen as a significant economic driver; the increase is notable because Still Photography accounted for 43.7 percent of the quarter’s overall growth.
“Not all production days are the same,” noted Paul Audley, FilmL.A.’s President. “While we appreciate the work of L.A. area photographers, Still Photography as a category is considered ‘low-yield’ from an economic standpoint.”
Production in the Commercials category slipped just a bit last quarter (down 0.6 percent to 2,295 PPD). The category, which delivered a record-setting return in 2012, has generally fared well in Los Angeles since 2009.
“We’re viewing the latest numbers with caution and optimism,” Audley summarized. “One quarter can’t undo all the troubling declines we’ve experienced, but we’re certainly encouraged to see things moving in an upward direction.”