Commercial Production Spending Increases in California

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In late September, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) released its thirteenth Annual Survey of the Commercial Production Industry.  The Los Angeles based market research consulting firm Bovitz prepared the report, which measures industry trends and activity in the $6 billion-plus production industry. The survey quantifies the economic impact of commercial production, including identifying geographic trends in production activity by AICP member companies, both domestically and internationally, as well as industry responses to a number of key factors that impact the financial health of the industry.

Among this year’s survey highlights is an illustration of how the economic recovery has greatly improved production levels by AICP members.  “Direct production expenditures are up 14% over the prior year” said AICP President and CEO Matt Miller. “As the economy continues to improve, and media channels proliferate – more filmed content is needed – and AICP member companies continue to see the positive opportunities in the economy of a growing industry.”

Continuing a three year surge, industry-wide production expenditures exceeded $4 billion for the first time in the survey’s history. Specifically, production expenditures saw an average increase of 20% per company, and companies that are engaged in projects combining both live action and digital production saw large increases in their average project expenditures from 2013.

The good news for California is that just over half of that $4 billion was spent in the Golden State. Regionally, the industry invested 51% of all production expenditures in California, exceeding $2 billion in direct expenditures for the first time. Until 2013, California experienced eight straight years of decreased direct expenditures before the bleeding stopped and 2014 is the first year the state began seeing real improvement in the overall commercial production landscape in California.

Among the other highlights of the study:

76% of live action shoot days took place on location: Three out of every 4 shoot days were on location in 2014, continuing a 4 year trend. In line with expenditures, 49% of all shoot days in 2014 took place in Southern California. New York received 11% of all shoot days. Illinois continues to experience steady growth in recent years with 7% of all shoot days, a regional high mark. Other domestic regions received 19%. Overall, foreign shoot days are up slightly, accounting for 15% of all shoot days.

Significant Filming Activity Continues Outside of Traditional Production Centers:  In 2014, about 21% of all shoot days took place away from the major production centers of New York, Illinois, and Southern California. The Southwest (Louisiana, Texas & New Mexico) with 5% and Southeast (Florida, Georgia, North & South Carolina) with 7% have shown the most growth in activity in recent years, mostly due to incentives offered to commercial production in those states.

Europe and the U.K. ranked #1 among international locations. Shoot days in Europe and the U.K. increased significantly to lead activity overseas with 31% of foreign shoot days.

“As the mix of media distribution continues to widen, member companies have increased their average expenditures by 173% in the areas of interactive media and projects combining both live action and in-house digital production techniques,” continued Miller.  “Given the rapid evolution and changes across the media landscape, the AICP membership continues to evolve their businesses to produce both live action and digital content to reflect the demands of brands, ad agencies and the consumer.”

To view a .pdf file of The 2015 AICP Member Survey results, please click here.

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