Film and television production creates and supports jobs for millions of Americans in front of and
behind the camera, while generating a valuable and sought-after global export. The industry plays a
key role in a dynamic U.S. creative economy, employing 2.5 million people from special effects
technicians to makeup artists to writers and set builders; all trades which cumulatively pay over
$181 billion in annual wages. Comprising more than 93,000 businesses in total across the industry, a
massive 87 percent of which employ fewer than 10 people, which helps showcase how many
individuals choose to operate on a freelance basis.

When a movie or television show shoots on location, it brings jobs, revenue, and related
infrastructure development, providing an immediate boost to the local economy. As much as
$250,000 can be injected into local economies per day when a film shoots on location. In some
cases, popular films and television shows can also boost tourism. The industry pays out $49 billion
per year to more than 280,000 businesses in cities and small towns across the country.

For example, Marvel’s Black Panther involved more than 3,100 local workers in Georgia who took
home more than $26.5 million in wages, while 20th Century Fox’s popular television series This Is
Us contributed more than $61.5 million to the California economy. Whilst in New York, Oscar-
nominated films The Post and The Greatest Showman contributed more than $108 million to the
state’s local economy.

In California, ‘The Golden State’ has always had its attractions; an extensive and historic production
infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, year-round shoot-friendly weather and, of course, the
biggest and starriest talent pool in the world.

Added to that are unique locations including the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego,
an 800-mile Pacific coastline, and natural wonders such as Yosemite and Death Valley.
But it was only with the introduction of the state’s upgraded incentive programme in 2015 that
California began to win back some of the runaway production.

California’s ‘2.0’ film and TV tax credit programme tripled the size of the state’s annual incentive
pool, eliminated budget caps, designated funding pots for four different types of productions and
introduced a ‘jobs ratio’ selection formula.

Of the programme’s $330m annual funding, 40% is allocated for new and recurring TV series, mini-
series, pilots and movies-of-the-week, 35% for non-independent features, 20% for relocating TV
series and 5% for independent features.

Big-budget features lured by the state’s incentive for shoots in 2019 included Warner
Animation’s Space Jam 2 and Warner Bros’ Sherlock Holmes 3. While TV series have included NBC
smash This Is Us and the new Star Trek series with Patrick Stewart from CBS All Access.

The ‘3.0’ programme, which will run from July 2020 to June 2025, will have $330m a year to allocate,
but it will increase the portion of that total available to independent films from 5% to 8% and split
the pot into one category for projects under $10m and another for projects over $10m.

The western half of the US offers film and TV makers some spectacular natural locations and
generous production incentives. New Mexico’s 25% refundable tax credit is one of the most reliable
in the region. This was one of the reasons why Netflix chose to buy the Albuquerque studios, which

offer eight sound studios and has already hosted the streaming giants’ productions Army of the
Dead and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

As part of the deal, the streaming giant is to spend $1bn over the course of a decade and add 1,000
jobs per year. However Netflix is not the only big player in town. NBCUniversal has also committed
to invest $500m in the state over the next 10 years by building a studio in Albuquerque with two
sound stages, creating 330 jobs and generating an estimated $1bn in economic development.
Meanwhile, Oregon has one of the region’s faster growing production sectors. The state’s cash
rebate incentive programme — which offers 20% on local goods and services and up to 16.2% on
wages, with a $14m annual cap — has recently attracted Disney family feature Timmy Failure and
David Oyelowo’s directing debut The Water Man.

Utah is another western state gaining industry ground, thanks to its strong incentives, proximity to
Hollywood and right-to-work status.

The Pacific island state of Hawaii attracts film and TV productions requiring specific kinds of
locations, notably jungle and beaches, such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Hawaii’s 20%-25%
credit programme was also recently extended to the end of 2025, but the state imposed a $35m
annual cap.

Oklahoma’s generous 35%-37% rebate is luring in productions, including Martin Scorsese’s next
movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, which will shoot
there in Spring. What limits the state’s appeal to producers is the incentive programme’s $4m rolling
annual cap.

Nevada usually attracts productions looking for brief location shoots in and around Las Vegas or in
the hills and dry lake beds of the Great Basin and Mojave deserts.

The southeastern corner is known as ‘Hollywood South’ thanks to its success luring billions of dollars
worth of production away from more traditional film locales, but production levels in different parts
of the region rise and fall regularly as local politicians back or attack film and TV incentive

Georgia, with its generous tax credit of up to 30% and a strong and still growing infrastructure,
remains the most active state in the region. Recent shoots include Disney’s live-action remakes Lady
And The Tramp and The Little Mermaid, and Ron Howard’s Netflix movie Hillbilly Elegy.

However, the Georgia industry faces recurrent threats of a boycott from Hollywood due to the
state’s controversial new ‘heartbeat’ abortion law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020. It’s a
similar story in Louisiana, although it is still attracting productions thanks to its revamped incentive
programme, with $446.8m in eligible state spending by production companies certified in 2018.

Mississippi is another state with pending abortion legislation. They offer cash rebates ranging from
25% to 30%, which have attracted productions such as Son Of A Gun and The Atoning.

Florida could also be set for a resurgence with two film incentive bills, one promising credits of up to
35% and annual funding of $36m being considered in the state senate.

In the meantime, various Florida regions offer their own incentives, like St Petersburg/Clearwater,
which provides a 10% cash rebate based on local spend. This has proved extremely popular, not just
for the incentive, but also because the region has some of the best beaches in the world.

Virginia is proving to be a popular shooting spot thanks to its great locations and architecture that
easily doubles for Washington D.C. The state’s major facilities are Bridge Studio in capital city
Richmond and New Dominion Pictures in Suffolk, as well as a 3,000-acre historic backlot just outside
Richmond, which recently hosted The Good Lord Bird series, and Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman
1984 in the City of Alexandria.

From a US consumer landscape at present, virtually every media company is looking to establish
direct relationships with consumers. It now appears that all major US TV networks and studios will
have a stand-alone direct-to-consumer streaming service by mid-2020. As they launch their services,
the big studios are withdrawing content rights from third-party streaming platforms. Hence, it has
become almost impossible for platforms to bring all major studios or networks under one umbrella.
As a result, many US consumers are growing frustrated with having to manage and pay for multiple
subscriptions to watch what they want. Research suggests that consumers are willing to pay only for
a certain number of streaming services. Deloitte’s recent Digital Media Trends Survey found that
consumers have an average of three streaming video services, a number that has remained steady
for two years.

In the end, streaming services that offer the best and broadest content libraries will likely own the
inside track to success. One method of getting there is “re-aggregation” (or re-bundling) of
streaming offerings, an approach pioneered by players like Amazon and Roku. Providers have an
opportunity to offer highly customized packages of content that, in addition to video, could include
streaming of music and games, as well as the option for customers to accept ad-supported video:
advertising in exchange for “free” (non-subscription) content.