AICP survey: Spot business rebounds to 2008 levels

THE COMEBACK of commercial production business this past year is a sure signal that the economy is rebounding, as production expenditures are up by 5% and nearly back to 2008 levels.

Confirmation of the rebound comes from the AICP’s 9th annual Survey of the Commercial Production Industry – an industry measured at $4.5 billion – made by L.A.-based Resolve Market Research.

The survey reports California still rules live action production, shoot days on locations were the highest since 2008 heights and the amount of digital production soared.

“As the economy continues to improve, and media channels proliferate – more filmed content is needed – and AICP member companies continue to see the positive opportunities in the economy of a growing industry,” reports New York-based AICP president/CEO Mark Miller.

Some of the study highlights:

AICP president/CEO Matt Miller

Expenditures rose 5% in 2010 close to pre-2008 numbers.  Live-action production saw an average increase of 5% per company, and digital production companies experienced a 47% increase on average from 2009-2010. Domestic expenditures increased by 4%. 

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. 

Location shoot days were the highest since 2008. In line with expenditures, 51% of all shoot days took place in Southern California, but production levels there remain almost stagnant, continuing a 3% market loss trend since 2007. 

New York received 15% of all shoot days, with a 10% increase in commercials attributed to the positive economic impact of the Empire State Commercial Tax Credit.

Other domestic regions received 22%, of which Illinois’ share  was a dismal 4%, primarily from bicoastal companies, only somewhat better than Florida’s 2%. 

Domestic filming trend continued in 2010, with 81% of all reported shoot days were in the U.S., 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.

Filming activity continued outside of traditional production centers. About 18% of all shoot days took place away from the major production centers of New York and Southern California. The Southwest (Texas, New Mexico and Arizona), with 4% and Southeast (Georgia, North & South Carolina) with 3% have shown the most growth in recent years, mostly due to their incentives. 

Europe and the U.K. ranked #1 among international locations for the first time in the survey’s history.  After a 49% dip in 2009 activity, 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.

Digital production soared.  “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%,” adds Miller. 

“Given the rapid evolution and changes across the media landscape, the AICP membership continues to evolve their businesses to produce both live-action and digital content to reflect the demands of brands, ad agencies and the consumer.”