Film industry worth $3.4b to provincial economy, says Creative BC

The provincial economy has a smash hit on its hands in the form of the film and TV sector, according to new data from Creative BC.

The agency responsible for promoting the province’s motion picture industry revealed July 16 that 452 productions generated $3.4 billion for the economy during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

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The industry generated $2.6 billion in expenditures during the previous fiscal year, according to Creative BC’s 2016-17 Impact report.

The most recent figures seem to portend further growth for the sector.

Last month Brightlight Pictures Shawn Williamson told Business in Vancouver demand for local talent around the region could rise nearly 50% within two years.

“We’re at the edge of an incredible amount of growth,” said the Canadian producer whose credits include ABC’s The Good Doctor and Seth Rogen’s The Interview.

“I won’t be surprised to see 75 shows shooting within two years in Vancouver, which is honestly crazy to think about now because the number of people we’d have to employ far exceeds the current ability to crew up here.”

Meanwhile, Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., told BIV Today last week he expects the B.C. film industry to be one of the most consistent performers for the provincial economy for the next few years.

Part of the reason comes down to the poor performance of the loonie since the 2014 oil shock.

Creative BC’s data showed that foreign productions nearly doubled the output from B.C.-based creators: 289 vs. 163.

But the sector is also benefitting from a big boost in demand for content from nascent players like Amazon Prime and Netflix Inc.

PwC’s Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018–2022 estimated Netflix would spend US$8 billion on content this year.

And a report by JPMorgan earlier in the year estimated Amazon.com Inc.  would spend US$5 billion on content.

The most common format shot in the province was series (164), followed by movies of the week (112 productions) and feature films (110).

Creative BC said that within the total budgeted production spend for its fiscal year, direct industry jobs and labour income account for about $1.78 billion.

torton@biv.com

@reporton

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