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March 16, 2010

DiNapoli: New York Plays Leading Role in Film, TV Industry

New York Movie, TV Productions Paid $5 Billion in Wages in ‘08

New York’s film and television industry employed as many as 63,000 workers and paid as much as $5 billion in wages in 2008, making it the second-largest film industry in the nation after California, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. New York City is the main beneficiary of the industry’s presence, with more than two-thirds of all film and TV production jobs in the State located within the five boroughs.

“This report puts a number on the contribution of film and television productions to New York’s economy,” DiNapoli said. “But there’s also an intrinsic added value that’s difficult to measure but very real. Visitors from all over the world come to New York because of the iconic movies and TV shows shot here. The film tax credit has helped this industry grow and employ tens of thousands of people; it’s one of New York’s key economic drivers.”

DiNapoli’s report cites the largest film and TV facilities in the state, including 90-year old Queens-based Kaufman Studios; Silvercup Studios, also in Queens and a location for the “Gossip Girl” television show; and the 100,000-square foot Steiner Studios complex in Brooklyn, a location for the current box office hit “Brooklyn’s Finest.” All three studios have announced plans to expand their facilities.

New York has also become a more popular location for international film producers, due in part to the State’s film tax credit program. The credit covers 30 percent of a production’s qualifying costs, including crew salaries and equipment expenses. Dozens of Spanish-language and Indian productions have included shoots in familiar locations like Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge during the last decade. Recent internationally-acclaimed films partially shot in New York include the Colombian drama “Maria Full of Grace” and Bollywood hits “Kal Ho Naa Ho” and “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna,” two of the highest-grossing films in Indian history.

“I want to thank Comptroller DiNapoli for his in-depth analysis of the film production tax credit and I’m thrilled that he concludes what we see every day at the Studio, that the program is very successful for the State and the City providing positive revenue, well paying union jobs, and infrastructure growth,” said Hal G. Rosenbluth, president of Kaufman Studios.

It’s estimated that the credit has generated $6.98 billion in economic activity since 2004. Forty-two states, Washington, D.C. and 11 Canadian provinces offer similar tax incentives in an effort to lure these jobs away from New York State. State legislators are currently considering extending the program through 2015.

"On behalf of the 3,400 members of Studio Mechanics Local 52 we are pleased that Comptroller DiNapoli’s Report recognizes that the production tax credit creates good jobs that provide decent wages along with health care and retirement benefits for thousands of New Yorkers," said John Ford, president of Local 52 IATSE.

DiNapoli’s report also notes that:

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of motion picture and video production jobs and postproduction jobs in New York rose by 14.2 percent between 2004 and 2008 to 36,000 jobs. The film and television industry in New York paid these employees $3.3 billion in wages in 2008.
  • BLS also estimates that the industry contracted as many as 27,000 workers for film and television-related jobs in New York through payroll service companies and as independent artists. Jobs in this category grew by 20.9 percent between 2004 and 2008 and workers earned a combined $1.7 billion in the last year of that period;
  • Accounting firm Ernst and Young estimates that the film tax credits have had a positive impact on State and City revenues;
  • Investors have recently opened or expanded facilities in Westchester and Long Island.

Click here for a copy of the report.


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