City’s Entertainment Industry Brings $8.7B into Local Economy: Study

City’s Entertainment Industry Brings $8.7B into Local Economy: Study

PHOTO:  Liam Neeson and company ran ’round the borough last year shooting “Run All Night” in parts of Jamaica, Woodhaven, Woodside, and Ridgewood. Photo Courtesy of The Buzz Media

The city’s filmed entertainment industry now contributes $8.7 billion to the local economy, according to an independent study that details the growth and economic impact of New York City’s media and entertainment industries.

The analysis, which was conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, indicated that the latest figure reflects an increase of $1.6 billion since 2011.

Additionally, BCG reported that the Big Apple is one of only three cities in the world with a filming community large enough to enable a production to be made without needing any roles to be brought in from other locations, including cast, crew members, and the creative team.

“By citing the enormous local contribution of the media and entertainment industry, BCG’s report confirms – definitively and independently – what we’ve always known:  NYC is the creative capital of the world,” said Cynthia Lopez, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “MOME is thrilled to support and encourage the hundreds of creative teams producing films, television series, and digital products throughout the five boroughs, ensuring the industry continues to play its leading role here in New York.”

The recent growth in television production is driven by the proliferation of networks, including digital and cable, commissioning scripted content, according to BCG. This, in turn, has fueled competition for TV audiences. In 2004, three networks broadcast scripted shows shot in the city; while 10 years later, 19 networks had commissioned dozens of original series. The 2014-2015 season saw 46 episodic series, a dramatic jump from 29 in 2013-2014—the largest increase of series produced in the five boroughs from one season to another in city history.

BCG indicated that the trend is expected to continue through at least the next five years. Historically, production crews would have down-time between movies or in the summer break between TV series. Today, TV productions are not only more numerous, but they are produced year-round. This combination has enabled a critical shift toward dependable year-round employment in the industry, the agency said.

The $1.6 billion increase since 2011 is a result of film and TV production spending on items such as crew salaries, catering, location rentals, set construction, set decoration, costumes, and other needed supplies. This continued increase in spending creates a ripple effect through the city’s economy, creating more economic activity and jobs, indirectly supporting an additional 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs, according to the study.

The city is also home to a thriving independent movie scene with the largest concentration of documentary production in the country. Theatre in New York has also seen a steady upward trend in employment with a 2-percent annual growth and a strong growth in revenues (up 5.5 percent per year in the last four years), due to diversification of audiences and shows and the cross pollination of stories and acting talent from film and TV.

Additionally, live filming in the city – including morning and late night shows such as “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “The Late Show,” and “The Tonight Show” – attract a yearly audience of 575,000 and generate $45 million in tourist revenue for the city.

The study also examined how the local media and entertainment industry did during the financial crisis, finding that it outperformed the overall city and U.S. economies, lost fewer jobs, and grew more rapidly in the recovery. While the city’s media sector lost 10,000 in 2008-2009, within a few years it had gained 25,000 full-time equivalent positions.


By Forum Staff


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