FilmL.A. — the official film office of the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles and other area jurisdictions — today announced that L.A. area on-location filming increased 8.6 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year (12,173 PPD in 2013 vs. 11,209 PPD in 2012)*. FilmL.A. characterized the quarter as one of recovery; a new, 5-year historical analysis reveals consistent underperformance in key Television subcategories.
While high-value productions like TV Dramas are filming less in L.A. than they once did, on-location television production was behind most of L.A.’s recent filming bounce. FilmL.A.’s Television category grew 26.6 percent last quarter to 4,310 PPD. Including all TV subtypes, the category outperformed its five-year average by 8.9 percent.
Within key TV subcategories, however, the data reveal a different picture. The TV Drama subcategory underperformed its 5-year average by 12.0 percent this quarter, even after logging year-over-year gains of 29.3 percent.
Web-Based TV (up 63.1 percent year-over-year to 499 PPD), TV Pilots (up 51.8 percent year-over-year to 384 PPD) and TV Sitcoms (up 39.1 percent year-over-year to 381 PPD) recently delivered solid performances, building on momentum gained in the first quarter.
Reality TV (up 6.4 percent year-over-year to 1,554 PPD) remains the largest contributor to L.A.’s Television totals, but as with TV Dramas the subcategory isn’t measuring up to past yields. Reality TV finished the quarter 4.7 percent below its 5-year average.
“The more we study these numbers, the more obvious is the need for historical context,” noted FilmL.A. President Paul Audley. “For production to increase twenty, forty or even sixty percent in a category during a single quarter is positive and significant, but it also demands we look at the record and see what’s been happening in those categories seasonally and over time.”
California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program did its part to bring new projects to the Los Angeles region this past quarter. State-qualified Television projects generated 171 PPD from March through June – comprising 22.7 percent of all TV Drama activity. State-qualified Television projects in L.A. included Franklin & Bash, Lost Angels, Major Crimes, Perception, Pretty Little Liars, Rizzoli and Isles, Teen Wolf and Switched at Birth.
Production in the Commercials category increased 4.5 percent last quarter to 1,986 PPD. The beneficiary of several years of growth, the Commercials category seems ill- poised to repeat the record-shattering return of prior years. For the quarter, the Commercials category finished 21.5 percent stronger than its five-year average.
On-location Feature production squeaked ahead just one-half percent for the quarter to 1,758 PPD. Nonetheless, the category’s latest results were 9.4 percent better than their 5-year average.
The California Film and Television Tax Credit Program has helped support local Feature production since 2009. Before that, local Feature production declined steeply due to incentive-fueled runaway production. State-qualified Feature projects generated 110 PPD this March through June – comprising 6.3 percent of the category’s quarterly total. State-qualified Feature projects in L.A. included Insidious, Lowdown, OT Beach and Ride.
“The latest report underscores the importance of two recent developments,” Audley noted. “The first thing to note is an incremental increase in filming driven by new production categories like Web-Based TV. The second is that unfortunately, we’ve also seen considerable erosion in the most economically significant production categories. On-location Feature production in L.A. is nowhere near as common as it was in the mid- 90’s, and despite a good run, we’re still logging fewer days for TV Dramas and TV Reality series than we used to.”