Milken on runaway production

The LAT trumpets the Milken Institute's report as "the most comprehensive account to date" on the loss of film and TV production to other states and countries. Trust me, it's anything but. The only nugget worth noting actually diminishes the argument about runaway production being a big deal: Between 1997 and 2008, according to Milken, California has lost 10,600 jobs in film, TV and commercial production. That's it? Keep in mind that L.A. County alone has almost 140,000 payroll jobs in movie and TV production (a gain of 22,000 in the past year), and that doesn't include the tens of thousands of freelancers. All told, you're looking at between 200,000 and 300,000 people in the business.

Losing 10,600 jobs over 11 years, a period in which poaching from other areas was at its height, strikes me as a miraculously small casualty count. The report does note the loss of an additional 25,000 jobs in related industries, but that, too, seems relatively small. Not to the folks who lost their jobs, of course, but for the region's overall economy (L.A. County has a workforce of 4 million). Among the report's recommendations for correcting this non-problem: a continuation of the tax credit giveaways that are being given to film producers. The shame is that this report will be getting a good ride on the wires and on broadcast, based on the Milken name. And it's really just a bunch of hooey.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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