Comprehensive analysis reveals industry reached all-time high numbers prior to the pandemic, supporting in total more than 185,000 jobs, $18 billion in wages

Production Industry has been a Bright Spot in the City’s Recovery

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) today released the NYC Film and Television Industry Economic Impact Study 2021, detailing specifics on the film and television industry’s significance and contribution to New York City’s economy. In 2019, the industry supported in total approximately 185,000 jobs, $18.1 billion in wages, and $81.6 billion in total economic output. Over the past fifteen years, direct jobs in the NYC television and film industry have grown at an annual rate of 3%, outpacing the city’s overall rate of 2%.

The groundbreaking report arrives as New York City begins to recover from the pandemic, which highlighted just how important this industry is to the city’s identity, the livelihood of many New Yorkers, and the local economy. The industry was at an all-time high when COVID hit, with 80 series shooting in NYC as of the 2018-2019 season – which represented a 34% increase in episodic production since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014.

Despite COVID-19’s impact, where TV and film productions were shut down from March through June of 2020, the industry has been coming back strong. Overall production has reached pre-pandemic levels, with at least 34 projects filming on the ground throughout the five boroughs by the end of August 2021.

“This study acknowledges the unprecedented impact and leading role that the film and television industry has had on New York City’s economy over the past several years,” said NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner, Anne del Castillo. “As we build a future for this industry, we look forward to working alongside public policymakers, industry stakeholders and local communities in order to ensure continued, sustainable economic growth and job opportunities for New Yorkers.”

The industry is comprised seven sectors that are directly responsible for 100,200 jobs (4% of all jobs in the city), $12.2 billion in wages, and $64.1 billion in direct economic output. The seven key sectors are motion picture and video production; talent; subscription programming; television broadcasting; advertising and media buying; postproduction and other services; and distribution and consumption.

The study entails a multi-layered research process, broad stakeholder conversations and incorporates analysis of growth rates and trends between 2001 and 2019, as well as after the COVID-19 pandemic (specifically the first half of 2020). For an overview of the report, please see Executive Summary at http://on.nyc.gov/MOMEfilmTVReport.

Highlights from the NYC Film and Television Economic Impact Study include:

  • The film and television industry has added roughly 35,000 direct jobs over the last 15 years, growing at an annual rate of 3% and outpacing the citywide job growth rate of 2% over this period.
  • The motion picture and video production sector, the industry’s largest employer, grew at an annual rate of 5% between 2004 and 2019, outpacing the city average job growth rate of 2% over the same period, and accounted for 46,700 direct industry jobs in 2019.
  • Television drives production spending and hiring in NYC, as TV series budgets continue to soar. Local spending and hiring by television productions that received that tax credit in New York City has increased year-over-year since at least 2015. In 2018, television productions receiving tax credits spent $2.6 billion and employed 167,000 locally.
  • Jobs in the motion picture and video production sector grew at an annual rate of 9% in Brooklyn and 8% in Queens between 2001 and 2019 (compared to 3% citywide), reflecting in part the expansion of soundstages and production facilities in these two boroughs.
  • Cable networks and subscription programming companies contributed over 40% of the industry’s direct economic output in 2019. Between 2012 and 2019, subscription programming’s output increased by more than 50%.
  • Soundstages and production facilities are rapidly expanding to meet increased demand, to the benefit of formerly industrial neighborhoods and underutilized assets. NYC is home to about 60 qualified production facilities, constituting almost two million square feet, located in all five boroughs.
  • New York State tax credit programs have been instrumental for industry growth and attracting industry activity to NYC. New York State’s Film Production Tax Credit has accounted for 75% of the direct industry jobs added since 2004. The Post-Production Tax Credit, introduced in 2010, spurred the growth of post-production jobs at an annual rate of 4%, which is double the city-wide growth rate of 2% over the same period.
  • Independent film thrives in NYC, distinguishing the city from other production hubs. Approximately 85% of filmmaking in New York City is independent, meaning that production is not funded by one of the industry’s major studios. The city’s critical mass of independent filmmakers helps further attract and retain aspiring talent, as well as distributors and financiers looking to elevate new voices.
  • NYC’s film and TV industry is integral to the city’s vast arts media and entertainment ecosystem, where tens of thousands of creative professionals enjoy a high crossover across all the arts and entertainment industries including theater, comedy, literature and design.
  • The industry was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but recovery is underway. The TV and film industry lost 25% of its jobs by Q2 2020 when compared to the prior year.

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment regularly conducts studies to build its understanding of New York City’s dynamic creative industries. As part of that effort, MOME launched this study in 2019 to provide a detailed assessment of the size, characteristics, and trends of the New York City film and television industry. This study was nearing its completion when the COVID-19 pandemic spurred global lockdowns in the early months of 2020. It was temporarily put on hold and upon its resumption, the study’s scope was updated to include an analysis of industry activity during the first half of 2020, drawing on the most up-to-date economic data available as well as insights from key industry stakeholders and experts.

“New York City is internationally known for the film and television industry and the insight in this report displays the significant economic impact the industry has brought to our city, and will also help us identify the industry’s opportunities for job creation and economic growth specific to The Bronx as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for facilitating this analysis as we push to get unemployment back to the record low level we saw in The Bronx prior to the pandemic,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“The data revealed by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in this study outlines a vital sector of New York City’s economy,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This will provide an essential benchmark for those of us in government who know how important it is to bring back jobs and investment in the post-COVID city.”

“From our growing studio and soundstage footprint to our countless iconic filming locations, the future of the television and film industry is right here in Queens, as proven by the encouraging rate of job growth in the trade,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “As the industry continues to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, Queens looks forward to being at the forefront of its recovery and investing in its overall health. The local economic benefits of a thriving television and film trade are too great not to do so.”

“Prior to Covid, Staten Island has seen great success in the television and film industry with our office’s Made On Staten Island initiative created back in 2014,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “Because of our efforts, the number of productions on Staten Island more than doubled, and millions in revenue were generated for campuses such as Snug Harbor, Historic Richmond Town, Bayley Seton and Mount Loretto. We also cannot forget the economic impact this revenue had on the borough’s small businesses, including restaurants, security services, catering, theaters, and more. We look forward to getting back to that level of production and continue to promote Staten Island as a one stop shop for the industry.”

Councilman Robert Holden said, “It’s good to see film and television production booming in the Big Apple. That means good jobs, the use of our many production facilities and the start of new careers. New York should always be a mecca for film and TV because we have unique talent, sound stages and locations. Not even Hollywood can fake New York City.”

“The NYC Film and Television Industry Economic Impact Study released by MOME validates the strength of the New York Film Tax Credit Program and its ability to continue to build employment and investment,” said Vans Stevenson, Senior Vice President, State Government Affairs – Motion Picture Association.

“The Impact Study confirms what SAG-AFTRA and the entertainment unions have known for many years; our industries are a vital part of the NYC economy,” said Rebecca Damon, SAG-AFTRA Executive Vice President and New York President. “The film, television and broadcast industries create and sustain strong union jobs and will lead the way as the City comes roaring back from the pandemic. It’s an exciting time to live and work in New York and SAG-AFTRA members are eager to play a large part in our city’s recovery. We look forward to working with the MOME, our fellow unions, and our industry partners to keep NYC at the forefront of the digital entertainment and media revolution.”

“MOME’s report on the NYC Film and Television sector’s growth in economic impact and jobs directly correlates to Theatrical Teamsters Local 817’s experience these past 15 years,” said Thomas J. O’Donnell, President, Theatrical Teamsters Local 817. “Correctly, the report credits much of the success to the New York State Film tax credit program allowing producers to take advantage of the City’s iconic locations, extensive infrastructure, and world class talent & crews. While membership suffered OVER a 95% job loss by the 2nd quarter of 2020, we are now approaching pre-pandemic employment levels. Like the city we live and work in, our crews have remained tough, resilient, and optimistic in the future.”

“This study brings into focus what we have been hearing from our community,” Flo Mitchell-Brown, Chair of the New York Production Alliance, said. “After breaking most records in terms of investment and job creation in 2019, we were hit particularly hard by COVID. The Mayor’s Office has been invaluable in helping our industry get back on our feet, sharing what we’ve learned to help others, and laying a solid foundation for future growth. We’ll be back stronger than ever.”

“The Post New York Alliance read the recently released MOME film study with great excitement,” said Yana Collins Lehman, Chair, Post New York Alliance. “NYC’s post production industry has never been busier. We’ve enjoyed the addition of dozens of Made In New York Post PA program graduates into jobs in Post, and they’ve invigorated the ecosystem. We look forward to accelerated job growth as the Post Industry continues to thrive in NYC.”

“This report makes clear what we’ve long known – that the film and television production industry is a significant economic driver providing high quality, well-paying jobs and generating significant revenue for the local businesses that support it,” said Kris Bagwell, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Silvercup Studios. “In fact, the industry was one of the first to come back in full force during the pandemic providing much needed jobs and an economic boost when the City needed it most. At the same time, New York-produced films and television shows adhered to the most comprehensive and stringent COVID-19 safety protocols, keeping workers safe. We’re pleased to support the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in studies such as this which help demonstrate the value the industry brings to New York and to help it continue its strong growth trajectory.”

“IFC Center has always understood our mission to be serving both moviegoers and moviemakers,” said John Vanco, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IFC Center, a 5-screen independent cinema in downtown NYC. “We’re proud that we’re where filmmakers get to present the fruits of their labor to the public, and that we’re able to play so many great New York films for our audiences, both at the theater and in our DOC NYC festival. We’re thrilled the city’s production sector is coming back strong following the pandemic slowdown, since filmmaking and filmgoing are vital to the life of New York City.”

To read the entire report, please visit http://on.nyc.gov/MOMEfilmTVReport.