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L.A. television production booms in second quarter, agency says

TV production in the city totaled 5,761 days from April through June, a 34% increase
TV drama production in L.A. made the most strides, growing 59% from the same period a year ago

Los Angeles saw a big boost in TV production across all genres in the three months ended June 30, increasing 34% over the same period last year.

The gains were across the board in dramas, sitcoms, reality and Web-based TV, according to data released Tuesday by the nonprofit FilmL.A. Inc., which handles film permits for the city and county.

The increase in part reflects the new emphasis on fresh programming for the summer — once a slow period of re-runs and pilots, said FilmL.A. President Paul Audley.

"The amount of television increase surprised us until we realized a lot of it is driven by a new summer schedule with much more original content then we've seen in the past," Audley said.

All TV production in the city totaled 5,761 days from April through June, a 34% increase from the five-year quarterly average. TV pilot production dropped 27% from the same period last year but still managed a 10% increase from the five-year average.

TV dramas specifically made the most strides, growing 59% from the same period a year ago with 1,191 production days. FilmL.A. said 42% of these productions, including TNT's "Legends" and MTV's "Teen Wolf," benefited from the state's film incentives.

Feature films, however, dropped 5% from the same quarter a year ago, with 1,665 production days. Only about 10% of feature films qualified for the state's film incentive, among them "American Sniper," "Entourage," "Scouts vs. Zombies" and "The Purge 2." Feature film production increased a mere 0.1% from its five-year average.

Audley said the city is still struggling in the feature film category because of the current tax incentive, which offers a small pool of credit and excludes films with budgets over $75 million.

"It just isn't enough money," Audley said. "This year, 23 projects approved and over 400 applied, so you can just see the fact that we're continuing to truly bleed production out of the state."

California offers $100 million a year in state tax credits for specific productions. By comparison, New York has a $420-million incentive pool. The California Assembly has passed a bill that would boost production incentives, and it is now pending Senate approval.

FilmL.A. defines one production day as a single crew's permission to film a single project at a single location during any 24-hour period. The data cover filming on streets and non-certified soundstages in the Los Angeles area.

The nonprofit did not include statistics on commercial activity this quarter, as it is reviewing how to best track commercial production.

business@latimes.com

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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