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TV and Film Sectors Adds $82B to NYC Economy

New York City
(Image credit: New York City)

NEW YORK—A new report from the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment highlights the importance of the film and TV sector to the city’s economy and the role it is playing in the city's recovery. 

The newly released “NYC Film and Television Industry Economic Impact Study 2021,” found that 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 study also reported. 

As New York City struggles to recover from the pandemic, the report also highlighted just how important this industry is to the city. 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 2014.

TV and film productions were shut down from March through June of 2020 during the pandemic but since then, the industry has been coming back strong, the report found. 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 report provides detailed information on seven sectors that are directly responsible for 100,200 jobs (2% of all jobs in the city), $12.2 billion in wages, and $64.1 billion in direct economic output. 

It also has data on the sector’s growth. Over the last 15 years, the industry has added roughly 35,000 direct jobs, growing at an annual rate of 3% and outpacing the citywide job growth rate of 2% over this period.

Among the seven sectors, the motion picture and video production sector is the industry’s largest employer, accounting for 46,700 direct jobs in 2019 (almost half of all direct industry jobs); the vast majority of these jobs are on film and television production sets throughout the city, the report said. 

Between 2004 and 2019, employment in the motion picture and video production sector grew at an annual rate of 5 percent.

The report noted that the television broadcasting sector was directly responsible for 16,900 jobs (17 percent of direct industry jobs), $2.8 Billion in wages (23 percent of direct industry wages) and $12.1 billion in economic output (19 percent of direct industry output). It was also the second largest employer in the industry. 

New York City is home to about 60 qualified production facilities (QPFs)—as defined by the Film Production Tax Credit Program—and these facilities constitute almost 2 million square feet of production space, the report found. 

The report found that 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 increased year-over-year since at least 2015. In 2018, television productions receiving tax credits spent $2.6 billion locally.

Another major economic impact came from New York City’s cable networks and subscription programming companies, which contributed over 40 percent of the industry’s direct economic output in 2019. Between 2012 and 2019, subscription programming's economic output increased by more than 50%.

The entire report can be found here

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.