Latest survey reveals positive trends

The $4.5 billion TV commercial production biz can embrace an attitude of cautious optimism, according to the Association of Independent Commercial Producers‘ ninth Annual Survey of the Commercial Production Industry.

Among the highlights of the study:

  • Expenditures rose 5% in 2010: Rebounding from the economic downturn in 2008-2009, spending on television commercial production climbed back to levels approaching those of the pre-2008 days. Specifically, live-action production expenditures saw an average increase of 5% per company, and companies that are engaged in digital production saw an increase of 47% on average from 2009-2010.

  • Regionally, the industry invested an average of 50% of all live-action expenditures in California, with New York at 15% and all other domestic regions at 26% for 2010.

  • About 70% of live-action shoot days took place on location, with the percentage of location shoot days the highest since 2008. In line with expenditures, 51% of all shoot days in 2010 took place in Southern California. However, production levels in the Golden State remain almost stagnant, continuing a 3% market loss trend since 2007.

  • New York received 15% of all shoot days, with the New York Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting showing a 10% increase in commercial activity over 2009 due primarily to the positive economic impact of the Empire State Commercial Tax Credit, put into effect in 2007.

  • Other domestic regions received 22%, with Illinois receiving 4% and Florida receiving 2% respectively. Overall, foreign shoot days remained consistent, accounting for 12% of all shoot days.

  • The survey also found a trend toward domestic shooting, with 88% of all reported shoot days taking place domestically – and 12% abroad. This represents a decrease from the 24% of shoot almost a decade ago, and the lowest ratio for shoot days overseas since this survey’s inception in 2002.

  • Another finding: significant filming activity continues outside traditional production centers. In 2010, about 18% of all shoot days took place away from the major centers of New York, Illinois and Southern California. The Southwest (Texas, New Mexico and Arizona) with 4% and the Southeast (Georgia, North and South Carolina) with 3% 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 number one among international locations, with shoot days in those regions increasing significantly to lead activity overseas for the first time in the survey’s history. After a 49% dip in activity in 2009, South America rebounded to remain the second most filmed foreign location. Canada again fell slightly for the second straight year to 21% of all shoot days abroad.”

“The data provides both our members and the industry at-large valuable insights into trends in the commercial production business,” said AICP prexy Matt Miller. “These findings provide an in-depth analysis of where the billions of dollars in commercial production activity are expended, along with key business issues our members face as they manage and grow their companies… As the economy continues to improve and media channels proliferate, more filmed content is needed.

“As the mix of media distribution continues to widen, we’ve seen our member companies respond with their in-house digital production jumping by nearly 50%,” Miller added.

The study, conducted for the trade group by Resolve Market Research, a Los Angeles based market research consultancy.

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