Competitive states lower L.A.’s spot shoot days

The ability to shoot in cheaper U.S. and overseas locations is cited as the reason for the 3.4% drop in the number of shooting days in Greater Los Angeles during 2006, as compared with last year.

Last year may be a turning point, said Steve McDonald, president of FilmL.A., the film issuing organization, “it was the year when 16 of the 28 states that currently offer financial incentives either enacted them for the first time or significantly sweetened what they have to offer,”

These incentives, he added, “have enabled several states to report record year-to-year gains in production,” such as Illinois. Its near-record $30 million in spot production, thanks in large part to the state’s 20% tax credit.

New incentives for commercials will take place this year, such as Wisconsin’s upcoming package, and New York State’s specific tax credit program that was effectuated Jan. 1.

Added to the attraction of locations outside L.A. is the development of new production facilities, such as Albuquerque Studios complex, which helped double fiscal year-to-year production spending in New York to $142 million from $71 million in 2006.

While the shooting day figures aren’t as robust as previous years, don’t reach for the crying towel just yet. FilmL.A. reported a total of 55,399 on-location shoots during 2006.

Reality and scripted shows combined for a 10.2% gain in overall TV activity. On-location sitcom production rose 12.6%, while dramas were up 6.2%. Reality TV contributed a 41% share of all on-location TV days in Los Angeles last year.

Plus all that, the entertainment industry is worth an estimated $30 million to the regional economy and it supports an estimated 240,000 high-paying local jobs.