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Posted August 01, 2006

Runaway prod’n costs U.S. dearly
By HR Staff


A group dedicated to tracking runaway film and TV production has issued its first major report since 2001, and the results don't paint a pretty picture.

"Basically, we're getting our clock cleaned," said Stephen Katz, executive director of the Center for Entertainment Industry Data and Research.

Among the findings in the CEIDR report:

The U.S. economy has missed out on about $23 billion in economic benefits from lost feature film productions since 2000.

From 1998-2005, spending on U.S.-based theatrical film productions declined 14% to $3.4 billion in 2005, even as worldwide production dollars rose 30% to $7.2 billion over the same period.

From 1998-2005, feature film production grew 179% to $1.2 billion in Canada, 66% to $809 million in the U.K. and Ireland, 531% to $717 million in Australia/New Zealand and 927% to $308 million in Eastern Europe.

California-based film and TV production rose 6% to $2.1 billion from 1998-2005, but the number of individual productions dropped 26%.

The state's dollar gains are traceable in part to an improved situation for TV production since the passage of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, Katz said.

Production of made-for-television movies in the U.S. collapsed from a high of 182 in 1995 to 49 in 2003 — a 73% drop — but bounced back to a total 84 productions in 2005, or a 71% improvement from that low point. Also, filming of scripted television in the U.S. grew 24% to 115 productions from 2000-05, according to the CEIDR report.

However, Katz stressed that the American Jobs Creation Act has been much less beneficial in the campaign to halt film productions from exiting the state or the U.S.

"It appears that if the U.S. hopes to retain a competitive edge in the global market for production, it will be necessary for the government to consider the enactment of an enhanced U.S. federally based incentive program and for state governments, particularly California, to do likewise," Katz said. "This report is the wake-up call. The next one could be like playing taps."

SAG president Alan Rosenberg expressed the hope that "elected leaders in Sacramento will see from the CEIDR study that it's imperative that California stay competitive." Rosenberg urged the Legislature to enact additional incentives for state-based film and TV productions.

 

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