L.A. Mayor: City ‘Well-Positioned’ If There’s a Content Bubble

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti marked an uptick in TV production as California’s film and TV tax credit program gets in full swing, but he also said that Los Angeles will be “well-positioned” should there be a scale-back over concerns that the industry is going through a content bubble.

Appearing on the Fox lot on the set of “American Horror Story: Hotel,” which took advantage of an expanded credit and relocated to L.A. this season from Louisiana, Garcetti said, “It is a great time as a television consumer,” he said at a press conference on Friday. “There is more content. There is more stuff. If there is a bubble, I am not so worried that it will affect us here, especially if we keep this momentum up. I think things pop at the fringes and stay at the core. And if we can keep the core strong, I think L.A. will be well-positioned.”

At the Television Critics Assn. tour last summer, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf predicted that the ever-growing number of scripted series programming — expected to pass 400 shows — would begin to decline after next year, saying, “There is simply too much television.”

News Corp. co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch, who was at Friday’s event, noted that figure but suggested that the network’s strong brands are well-positioned in an ever-more fractured media environment. He predicted demand for “high-quality content” would continue.

“It is a golden age, and there is a huge amount of choice,” he said.”I think that as long as it is fragmented in straight delivery, where you have thousands of channels, whether it is linear broadcasting or over the top, whether it is Netflix or Hulu, or obviously on cable television, there is going to remain a demand for high-quality content. So I wouldn’t personally characterize that as a bubble at all. Consumers are demanding choice and that is going to continue for as long as we can see.”

American Horror Story: Hotel” was one of 11 series that relocated to California under the expanded program, which more than tripled the annual tax credit outlay to $330 million per year. The first TV application periods were in May, and a total of 22 projects received credits.

According to figures from FilmLA, on-location production in the greater Los Angeles area increased 3.8% in the third quarter of 2015, with a 54.5% increase in scripted TV production.

Garcetti said that more than 4,000 people had received a paycheck from “American Horror Story,” with $21.5 million in salaries and $55 million in direct spending.

More to come…

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