FilmL.A. Issues 2015 Pilot Production Report

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Released in July, FilmL.A.’s 2015 Pilot Production Report provides updated insight from our decade-old tracking effort focused on new television projects and promising series. This year’s report features expanded analysis of digital pilot production and trends in “straight-to-series” pilot orders and “pilot-to-series” relocation.

FilmL.A.’s 2015 count shows that 202 broadcast, cable and digital pilots (111 Dramas, 91 Comedies) were produced during the 2014-15 development cycle, just one less than the prior year, which was the most productive on record by a large margin.  Out of those 202 pilots, a total of 91 projects (21 Dramas, 70 Comedies) were filmed in Greater Los Angeles. This gave the region a 45 percent share of total pilot production (by project count), but only a 19 percent share for drama pilots.  After L.A., the top competitors for pilot production in 2014-15 were New York (25 pilots), Vancouver (16 pilots), Atlanta (9 pilots), Toronto (9 pilots) and Louisiana (8 pilots). No other location hosted more than five pilots.

FilmL.A.’s 2015 report is the first to include a specific count of digital pilot projects in production. There were 26 pilots produced for digital networks in 2014-15. Leading the digital networks was Amazon (with 13 pilots), followed by Netflix (10 pilots), Hulu© (2 pilots) and Playstation™ Network (1 pilot). Of the 176 non-digital pilots, 85 were for cable and 91 were for broadcast networks.

One of the findings in the new report is that hosting pilot episodes produced over the last several years does not guarantee a location will also host the series.  Examples of pilots that took their series to another location were turned into useful graphic which shows which locations capture these relocating pilots-turned-series:  (image below)

FilmL.A. also examined 73 new drama series (many of which are now canceled) that have been produced in L.A. since 2010. Of those dramas, 47 (64 percent) also filmed their pilot episodes in California and 25 (34 percent) relocated after shooting their pilots in other locations. Of the 25 shows that had their pilots and / or initial seasons produced outside California, 12 were induced to relocate by the availability of the California Film & Television Tax Credit.

A final point on relocating series is worth noting. After exhaustive review of past series (regardless of where they filmed their pilots), FilmL.A. Research found 20 examples of shows that relocated after filming one or more seasons in a given location.

Out of those 20 shows (that date back to the 1980s), six shows relocated after just one season and six shows relocated after two. Put another way, for shows that have relocated after shooting a season or more in one place, 67 percent had only filmed one or two seasons before relocating. Four series relocated after three or four seasons in a given location and just two series relocated after shooting five or more seasons in one place.

To download the 15-page report, visit FilmL.A. Research online.


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