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Home / News / The Industry / Georgia, UK stage inventory now comparable to LA

Georgia, UK stage inventory now comparable to LA

by City News Service
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The greater Los Angeles area has expanded its film production capabilities with the addition of new infrastructure, but faces major competition as the state of Georgia and the United Kingdom does so as well, FilmLA announced Tuesday.

The not-for-profit public organization, which serves as the official film office for the city and county of L.A., among other municipalities, updated its ongoing study of sound stage development and production and released new stage occupancy and use data from 2022.

Since its last sound stage study update in March 2023, both Georgia and the U.K. have added more than one million square feet of stage inventory to their existing supply — meaning they are comparable to Los Angeles.

According to FilmLA, the U.K. has about 6.6 million square feet of stage space, with plans to add dozens of new facilities. Georgia has over 4 million square feet of studio space, and several big projects in various planning and expansion phases.

The L.A. area has about 6.5 million square feet of certified sound stage space.

“Just like with trained crew, the availability of purpose-built sound stages is a factor that helps determine the attractiveness of any filming location,” FilmLA President Paul Audley said in a statement. “Our study shows that many jurisdictions are expanding their stage infrastructure and competing harder for the business we also want to win for L.A.”

FilmLA said the report is guided by a unique data-sharing partnership with 17 participating studio operators, which help to bring the local production picture into a “clearer focus.”

Participating studios, which include the six major Hollywood studios and the region’s largest independent operators, together control 35 facilities and 83% of the certified sound stage space available in greater Los Angeles.

On a local level, FilmLA is tracking 18 new studio projects totaling roughly 3.5 million square feet of space in various stages of planning and development in Los Angeles.

Santa Clarita Studios, having joined as a research program participant last year, is the latest studio to have its data included in FilmLA’s sound stage study.

According to FilmLA, studio occupancy and utilization in the area decreased in the latter part of 2022, as fears regarding industry strikes began working their way through the entertainment industry.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, stage occupancy fell below seasonal norms. Overall, L.A. stage area operators reported an average annual occupancy of 90% in 2022, a decrease of about 3% from 2021.

Upcoming FilmLA reports are expected to highlight the “full effect of industry disruption” on area sound stage occupancy, the organization said.

A total of 1,354 projects were filmed in 35 facilities owned by the 17 studios participants in 2022. These 1,354 projects generated a total of 10,356 stage shoot days. Episodic television serious accounted for the largest segment production with about 30% of all projects and two-thirds of all stage shoot days.

The number of series episodes ordered per season declined across all segments of television, i.e. streaming, broadcast and cable. The number of shoot days generated between 2018 and 2022 declined by 36.4%, from 10,582 to 6,901.

In 2022, series shoot days accounted for 66% of all production activity, compared to approximately 73% reported in 2018.

FilmLA plans to publish an update to its report on stage production and development later this spring.

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