California Tops Again for TV in 2019, Finds FilmLA Report

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FilmLA released a new report prepared by its research division. The 2019 Television Report offers an overview of the current production landscape for U.S. based television series and new TV projects. In addition to quantifying California’s share, the report assesses some of the trends shaping series production across broadcast, cable and digital networks.

“This report finally allows us to uncover where digital production makes the most economic impact,” said Paul Audley, President of FilmLA. “Any jurisdiction fortunate enough to serve as a backdrop to these projects is positioned to do well.”

During the 2018-19 development cycle, a total of 465 live-action scripted series were available for viewing for the domestic market (467 in 2017-18). FilmLA also counted 144 projects that were picked up to series but not yet available for viewing during this cycle (excluded from this cycle).

The impact that digital streaming services are having on television production continues to be substantial. This category has experienced the most rapid growth in television content for both new projects and live-action scripted series. The number of digitally distributed original series in production as increased 2,300 percent from the 2010-11 season. The number of new digital projects nearly doubled between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 development cycles, increasing approximately 85.3 percent in one year.

As the number of digital series in production climbs, the number of “straight to series” orders are also on the rise. In 2018-19 a total of 100 new shows were ordered straight to series including 4 broadcast, 26 cable and 70 digital projects. A total of 51 percent of new projects ordered went straight to series in the 2018-19 cycle compared to 36 percent in 2017-18.

Among all established production centers, California continues to dominate as the leading destination for new projects on broadcast, cable and digital platforms. For the 2018-19 cycle, 205 of the 465 tracked series were produced in California, yielding a 44 percent market share for the period.

The California Film & Television Tax Credit Program continues to provide considerable support by way of job benefits to the state. According to data shared by the California Film Commission, the current crop of incentivized TV series in production sustains thousands of cast and crew jobs and tens of thousands of opportunities for day-players (extras).

Overall, new project production is up 23.3 from the 2017-18 season. California remains competitive when it comes to attracting new projects. FilmLA’s report reveals during in 2018-19 cycle, 196 new projects were produced (67 broadcast, 53 cable and 76 streaming projects). Of those new projects, 72 or 36.7 percent of all new projects counted, filmed in the Golden State (28 one-hour and 44 half-hour).

From an annual count, an increase of 10.7 percent in new project production can be seen from the 2017-18 (65 new projects) to 2018-19 cycles. For new projects, California’s top competitors include the state of New York (with 29 projects), and the Canadian province of British Columbia (with 24 projects), and the state of Georgia (with 20 projects).

“After years of runaway production, more television is being shot in California than anywhere else in North America,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The California Film & Television Tax Credit Program is ensuring that these jobs stay in our state — and while this report shows progress, we must double down on our efforts to make California the best place in the world to film.”

The 2019 Television Report, along with other reports from FilmLA Research, are available for download here (registration required):

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