Economic Impacts of Filming
Film production has long been an important part of California and San Francsico's economies. Increased competition from various national and international locations has resulted in productions leaving California seeking jurisdictions offering incentives. Below are two studies focusing on the economic losses resulting from these decreases in local film production.
SF Film Cluster Analysis
San Francisco’s film industry has a long history of producing critically-acclaimed and financially successful motion pictures and television programs. Many of the motion picture industry’s top directors, producers, and actors make their home in San Francisco or the Bay Area. While these facts may stake San Francisco’s credentials in Hollywood, they are not sufficient in gauging the current, or potential, importance of film production to San Francisco's economy, or its impact on other sectors. The film industry, and the broader film cluster, has been severely challenged by significant new trends in the industry, and the emergence of aggressive new competition from cities across North America and the world.
To gauge San Francisco's opportunity in this changing environment, we need a solid understanding of the technological, market, and geographical trends in the industry. The San Francisco Film Office commissioned this report to guide future City policy for the industry.
Film Flight: Lost Production and its Economic Impact on California
Hollywood has always been the heart of the entertainment industry, but today there are a host of competitors vying for new film and television productions—and the jobs that go along with them. Rival locations (especially Canada, New York, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and New Mexico) now offer an attractive combination of lower costs, technical talent, incentives, and infrastructure.
It’s imperative that policymakers understand what’s at stake and take decisive steps to retain an industry that serves as a vital source of jobs and revenue. Recent years have seen a dramatic decline in the number of feature films produced within California. Movie projects can move, and when they do, they take with them millions of dollars in lost local spending. In recent years, the number of movies either wholly or partially filmed in California has fallen sharply, from 272 in 2000 to 160 in 2008.
The Milken Institute's research shows that if California had managed to retain the 40 percent share of North American employment it once enjoyed, 10,600 jobs would have been preserved here in 2008. Furthermore, those direct jobs would have had broader economic impact, generating an additional 25,500 jobs after rippling through other sectors. If the state had maintained its former level of dominance, a total of 36,000 jobs would have been saved. The wages and output associated with these jobs would have totaled $2.4 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively.