Scripted TV Still the Bright Spot in L.A. Production Picture

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Television Dramas 2nd Quarter 2019

Scripted television remains the bright spot in the L.A. production picture, according to the latest quarterly data from FilmLA.  On-location filming within that jobs-rich sector increased in the second quarter, while feature, commercial and reality TV production lost ground.  Across all tracked filming categories, on-location filming in Greater Los Angeles slipped 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2019.  In all, 8,632 Shoot Days (SD)* were logged during the period.

In FilmLA’s Television category, TV Dramas (up 17.3 percent to 842 SD), TV Comedy (up 3.2 percent to 485 SD) and TV Pilots (up 35.5 percent to 149), all increased during the second quarter.  In addition to their major presence on location, these types of projects also consume a significant share of the region’s total sound stage space.  A cyclical drop in TV Reality (down 16.2 percent to 737 SD) for the quarter pulled the Television category down 1.2 percent overall, to 2,918 SD.      

Scripted television production in Los Angeles is increasingly driven by the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program.  In the second quarter, 51.7 percent of local TV Drama Shoot Days came from incentivized series – a new milestone.  Meanwhile, incentive projects power 20.8 percent of L.A.’s on-location TV Comedy production.  A sampling of recent incentivized projects includes Animal Kingdom, Ballers, Euphoria, Good Trouble, Mayans MC, Snowfall, Strange Angel, SWAT, Westworld, Why Women Kill, and You.

Declines in Feature and Commercial production were also observed from April through June.  Feature film production decreased 16.7 percent for the second quarter to 986 SD.  Lack of vacant soundstage space is seen as the main impediment to growth in this category, even though financial incentives exist to bring new projects here.

Film projects brought to Los Angeles by California’s film incentive contributed 9.7 percent, or 96 SD, to the Feature category in the second quarter. Incentivized features recently filming in L.A. include Covers, Island Plaza, Main Stream, Palm Springs, SJ2, Torrance, and The Walk.  During the prior quarter, incentivized features were nearly absent from Los Angeles, although such projects were in production elsewhere in California.   

On-location Commercial production dropped 19.8 percent in the second quarter to 1,280 SD.  Commercial production, which receives no state-level incentive support, has been trending downward as producers pursue alternatives to Los Angeles for filming.  A tightening market due to consumers’ turn towards streaming services and away from ad-supported entertainment products are also thought to play roles in the sector’s downturn. 

“Although our latest report reveals a decline in filming on location, local production facilities tell us that they are operating at capacity. We’ll be looking at soundstage production again this fall to put some of these numbers in context, and examine demand and opportunities for new local infrastructure investment.”

Paul Audley, FilmLA President

2 Comments on “Scripted TV Still the Bright Spot in L.A. Production Picture”

  1. Do you happen to have updated utilization rates? Also, do you have a pipeline of new sound stage product? Thanks

    1. Hello and thank you for getting in touch. We’ll gladly do our best to assist you with your data inquiry. If possible, please direct this question to, along with your media affiliation, so that we can take a deeper dive.

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