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May 2, 2014

Weekly Update from Film Ontario, May 2, 2014

Happy Friday everyone,

The proposed bill to expand California's production tax incentives hit a roadblock this week when California’s Legislative Analyst released a report that cast a lukewarm view of the state’s current program. As detailed in Variety below, while the report says that there are reasons for concern about runaway production, with a decline in the state’s share of jobs in movies and TV shows, it challenges claims that the tax credits provide equal or greater returns to the state treasury as a result of  increased economic activity generated by production spending.
http://variety.com/2014/biz/news/california-legislative-analyst-production-tax-credit-does-not-pay-for-itself-1201168456/

While the Variety headline on the story above certainly appears damning, industry advocates highlighted more positive views of the report. A story in The Wrap quotes Assembly members Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra, who co-authored the expansion bill, as saying “Today's report states that it's ‘reasonable’ to continue and expand the program and that the program pays for itself in state and local taxes, even without considering the revenue generated by tourism and other related industries'".
http://www.thewrap.com/expanding-tv-film-tax-credits-reasonable-states-legislative-analysts-office-says/

It is widely believed that the traditional divide between northern and southern California remains one of the major factors holding back an expansion of production tax credits, as lawmakers in the state capital of Sacramento are loath to be seen as pandering to wealthy Angelenos. As detailed in Variety below, a planned rally in support of California's proposed expansion bill is planned for June 14th in San Francisco and is an attempt to demonstrate that the industry has strong support outside of L.A.
http://variety.com/2014/film/news/san-francisco-set-for-june-14-rally-for-sweetened-state-film-tv-credits-1201168088/

California isn't the only state hoping to up its game with regards to attracting film and television business: lawmakers in New Jersey are set to introduce legislation that would revive the Garden State's incentives program after Governor Chris Christie effectively killed the industry in 2010 by suspending the program and vetoing a credit for MTV hit The Jersey Shore. As reported in the New York Post, New Jersey industry advocates, who will unveil the bill on May 5th, hope to take advantage of their proximity to New York, which has become a production powerhouse.
http://nypost.com/2014/04/30/nj-boosters-want-to-steal-movie-tv-business-from-ny/

The popular Netflix series House of Cards will stay in Baltimore, Maryland to film its third season. As reported in Variety below, production company Media Rights Capital has reached an agreement with the state to receive $11.5 million in tax incentives and grants of the $15 million rebate it sought, ending a standoff that was closely watched by many competing jurisdictions, including ours.
http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/house-of-cards-to-contnue-filming-in-maryland-1201164775/

The cable industry's top executives gathered this week in L.A. for their annual convention to show off new technologies and boast about a bright future. But, as reported in the L.A. Times below, underneath the hyperbole and chest pounding were worries about rising costs, cord-cutting, customer service and increased competition from newer digital platforms.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-cable-convention-20140429,0,109198.story#axzz30Ppw4n9G

And finally this week, as digital content continues to steal viewers of traditional television, Studio System News has published part one of a must-read series on the digital content newfronts currently underway in New York. As detailed below, 65 percent of attending ad buyers plan to spend more on digital video advertising in 2014 than they did last year and the Interactive Advertising Bureau is projecting that within the next five years, advertising on original online content will be equally important to companies’ bottom line as television has been all along.
http://www.studiosystemnews.com/the-industry-guide-to-the-digital-content-newfronts-part-one/

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