Low-Budget TV Programming Up, Commercials Down
Production is growing in New York City, according to a new study by Cornell University, but not always in the ways New Yorkers would like. For example, while the number of films shot in New York City is on the rise, the growth rate comes nowhere near keeping pace with the dramatic increase in the total number of films made in the U.S. More television production is taking place, but at least some of that growth is attributable to low-budget cable TV programming. And the gradual exodus of the advertising industry continues – 20 years ago, half of all the ad agency headquarters in the world were in New York, compared to just one third of them today.
One bit of good news for New Yorkers is that the region has actually increased its share of film location shooting since 1994, when only 10 percent of a total of 433 U.S. films were shot there. In 2003, 14 percent of the 1,161 U.S. films were lensed in New York. "What is notable is that New York appears less affected by the shift of production to Canadian provinces and other international locations," reads the study.
Comparing production and post-production in terms of employment, the production industry has been much more volatile. In 1993, New York state firms employed 22,981 workers in production jobs and 2,502 in post-production. By 2001, the numbers climbed to 38,940 in producion and 3,334 in post. But in 2004, production jobs had dipped to 28,546, compared to 2,972 in post. The number of jobs in both categories declined by 2.2 percent from 2003 to 2004, while total annual payroll was up 2.6 percent in the same period. "This divergence may indicate that employees are holding fewer jobs, but working more hours," reads the study.
In what could be good news for U.S. workers, the study notes that production in Canada is flagging, based in part on U.S. state tax subsidies and a stronger Canadian dollar.
The study, titled "New York's Big Picture: Assessing New York's Position in Film, Television and Commercial Production," was conducted by researchers from the Cornell University NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the Department of City and Regional Planning of Cornell and the Fiscal Policy Institute. It was funded by the New York Film, Television and Commercial Initiative, a coalition of studio owners, labor union representatives, trade association executives, other industry organizations and the city and state governments. The complete study is available from the New York Production Alliance Web site: www.nypa.org.