Showbiz

TV, film industry brings windfall to New York, mayor says

Mayor Bloomberg: Film and television production employs 130,000 people, including downstream construction and food service. — Reuters file picMayor Bloomberg: Film and television production employs 130,000 people, including downstream construction and food service. — Reuters file picNEW YORK, May 9 — The film and TV industry has spent US$60 billion (RM182.2 billion) in New York City over the past decade, and production of feature films and popular shows is at an “all-time high”, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday.

While financial incentives to lure film and TV production have been controversial in other cities and states, especially in an era of budget gaps and fiscal austerity, New York has worked to retain its leading role.

A 2010 study by the Centre on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that generous tax credits were not a good value since the best jobs went to people from outside the state.

But film and television production in New York City employs 130,000 people, including the support sectors of construction and food service, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, conducted at the city’s request free of charge.

“This report confirms what I’ve been seeing on sets and sound stages around the city — the film and television industry in New York City has never been bigger,” the mayor said in a statement.

In 2011, the industry generated US$7.1 billion in direct spending, the study found.

Bloomberg has long argued New York City’s reputation as a cultural hub brings jobs and bolsters its international reputation, generating more tourism.

The state of New York offers a programme that provides qualifying film and television productions a 30 per cent tax credit on expenditures.

The city has a series of programmes designed to complement the state’s tax credit, costing the city between US$10 million and US$20 million a year, according to its Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting.

Bloomberg said the media landscape in the city — which serves as a backdrop for such TV shows as “30 Rock”, “Gossip Girl” and “The Good Wife” — “has shown strong growth throughout the economic downturn”. — Reuters

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