The TV Content Bubble Is Bad for TV, Really Good For Los Angeles

After years of losing TV and film shooting locations to other areas, Los Angeles is experiencing its busiest production quarter since 2010. Specifically, scripted television production is finally making a comeback, with TV production rising 54.5% over the same time last year.

The local film permitting office, Film LA, says combined film and television production between July and September grew 3.8% over 2014 for a total of 9,510 shoot days in the Greater Los Angeles region. And despite a sharp drop in reality television production, scripted television has more than buoyed the number of shoot days this summer.

For years, other cities and states lured away Hollywood productions with tax credits, but many of those productions are finally coming home.

“We were predicting increases in the scripted television segment, and it appears those predictions are coming true,” said Film LA President Paul Audley. “Undeniable is the influence and importance of the California Film and Television Tax Credit, which in both its old and new iteration has returned a considerable amount of work to Los Angeles.”

At the same time, the TV and film industry is gathering in Cannes this week for MIPCOM, one of the largest markets for entertainment content. And this year, many industry leaders have voiced concerns that television is in the midst of a major content bubble.

TV is as popular as ever in the United States, with 160 million TV-watching households watching an average of 2.8 to five hours of TV every day. But increasingly, the market is splintered, with the average household receiving 189 cable channels, in addition to new online players like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

As a result, studios are producing record numbers of new scripted shows. In the short term, that’s good news for the local Los Angeles economy. During a keynote address at MIPCOM this week, “Grey’s Anatomy” producer Mark Gordon argued that rumors of a TV content bubble were being overstated.

“I don’t think there’s too much good television,” he said.

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