Film L.A.: TV Production Up in Q2, But It May Not Mean Much

Scott Everett White/MTV
"Teen Wolf"

The gain in TV work is attributed to seasonal differences, while feature film production was down 5.3 percent.

During the second quarter of 2014, television production on location in the Los Angeles area was up 33.7 percent, to 10,385 production days, compared with the same quarter a year ago. But Paul Audley, president of Film L.A. — which did the research — cautioned that it was mainly because of production delays last year.

“History teaches us how quickly apparent gains in local production can be swept away,” Audley said. “Strengthening the programs that make California competitive and attractive for filming is essential to our state’s long-term prosperity.”

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More to Audley’s point, on-location feature film production during the second quarter of 2014 was down 5.3 percent, to 1,665 production days.

“Today’s report,” he said, “illustrates the challenges we sometimes face in interpreting film-industry data.”

In addition to seasonal differences, the Film L.A. researchers attributed the growth in TV production to the impact of California’s film and TV tax incentive program.

Film L.A. said 10.8 percent of the feature production during Q2 was on projects that got California state film incentives. Those included American Sniper, Entourage, Scouts vs. Zombies and The Purge 2.

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In TV, 43.2 percent of the dramatic shows received California financial incentives, including Major Crimes, Murder in the First and Teen Wolf

In the first quarter of 2014, TV production was down 9.2 percent. Film L.A. said the second quarter boost may have been related to work on early summer shows, as well as on other upcoming new and returning shows.

Nearly all of the TV subcategories rose as well. TV Drama was up 5.5 percent, to 402 production days; TV Reality was up 64.1 percent, to 2,550 production days; TV Sitcom was up 5.5 percent, to 402 production days; and Web-based TV was up 3.4 percent, to 379 production days.

TV pilot production declined 26.2 percent, to 282 production days.

As an example of the trend, TV drama production peaked in 2008 and fell steadily until 2012 before making a slight recovery in 2013. Feature production peaked in 1996 but did make a slight comeback in 2013 as well.

Audley has been a vocal supporter of legislation currently being considered in Sacramento to extend and expand California’s movie and TV incentives. The bill has passed the State Assembly and now is being considered by the Senate.

Film L.A., which does annual and quarterly reports on production done outside studios in Los Angeles city and county, is a non-profit that acts as the area’s official film office. On-location figures are based on permitted production days.