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On-location filming in L.A. climbs, lifted by reality TV and Web shows

On-location filming in L.A. climbs, lifted by reality TV and Web shows
Kyle Richards, left, Taylor Armstrong and Adrienne Maloof appear in Bravo's reality series "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." (Evans Vestal Ward / Bravo)

Reality TV series and Web-based shows helped lift production in the Los Angeles area by a modest 3% in the third quarter, offsetting declines in feature-film and commercial shooting.

The L.A. area saw a total of 9,795 on-location shoot days for the quarter, up from 9,510 days in the same period last year, according FilmLA Inc., the nonprofit group that oversees film permits in the city and county. The main driver was television, which saw 4,423 shoot days, up 2.7%  from 4,308 in 2015.

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Reality TV accounted for a significant part of that increase, rising 6.6% for the quarter to 1,342 shoot days, from 1,259 in the same period last year. Series that shot in the L.A. area for the third quarter include "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," "The Bachelor," "Face Off" and "Real Estate Wars."

Web-based shows also contributed to the rise, climbing a robust 72.2% to 651 shoot days, from 378 during the same period a year ago. These shows are short-form videos created by companies such as Funny or Die, Maker Studios and Buzzfeed, and are not the kind of programming found on Netflix or Amazon.

The popularity of short-form Web shows has risen as millennials flock to viewing content on mobile devices. For the year, Web-based TV shoots have risen by more than 70% over two consecutive quarters.

The strength in television shoots was also driven by series that qualified for California's film and television tax credit program. They include "American Horror Story" on FX, "Westworld" on HBO, "This Is Us" on NBC and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" on the CW.

The number of TV pilots shot in L.A. for the third quarter rose 20.8% to 151 shoot days, up from 125.

FilmLA said that about one-fourth of all local TV drama and comedy production is incentive-driven.

Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, said in a statement that the incentive has helped drive local TV production with seven straight quarters of growth, but he added that there has been a "leveling off as the program reached full utilization."

Feature film shoots declined for the quarter, dropping 5% to 1,089 shoot days from 1,146 days in the same quarter last year. The figures also represent a decline after three consecutive quarters of growth in 2016.

Most feature film activity in L.A is of the small, independent variety, while incentivized features are bigger and tend to film for more days, significantly boosting  the number of overall shoot days, said Philip Sokoloski, the FilmLA spokesman. "We didn't have those this quarter, so until we haven an injection of new projects, we won't see the number go up."

Among the movies qualifying for the state incentive that filmed in the L.A. area during the quarter were: "Suburbicon," directed by and starring George Clooney; "God Particle," a science fiction thriller; "Sandy Wexler," an Adam Sandler comedy; and a big-screen version of "CHiPs," for pickup shots.

Feature film shoots lagged both TV and commercial shoots for the quarter as L.A. continues to combat runaway productions to rival states such as Georgia.

Commercial shoots declined 2.6%, to 1,245 shoot days in the third quarter from 1,278 in the same quarter last year.

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