AICP Survey: Production Companies Spent $3.5B in 2002-03

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According to a new survey released by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), U.S. production companies spent close to $3.5 billion on production expenditures in the calendar year ending June 30, 2003, with approximately $768 million going to overseas shoots. 22 percent of all shoot days for that period were logged outside the U.S., down slightly from 24 percent the year before.

The two-year survey, conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, was conducted online in August and September of 2002 and 2003, and provided confidentiality for all respondents. According to Matt Miller, president and CEO of the AICP, the first two years of the study provide a benchmark against which future surveys of the AICP’s membership can be gauged. As for the fact that one in four shooting days is logged outside the U.S., Miller says he’s not surprised. “I’ve never seen a study that’s tried to quantify it,” he says. “It’s a big number, but it’s not a surprise. It’s about what everyone expected it to be.”

Almost half of non-U.S. shoot days logged by AICP members took place in Canada in the calendar year ending June 30, 2003, with Vancouver and Toronto accounting for 28 and 19 percent of overseas shooting days, respectively. The remainder of members’ foreign shooting days were divided between Latin America (11 percent), Australia/New Zealand (9 percent), Central and Eastern Europe (8 percent), the United Kingdom (7 percent) and South Africa (6 percent). Domestically, Southern California is the most active production center, both in the U.S. and the world. Shooting there accounts for 36 percent of worldwide production and 46 percent of domestic shooting. New York accounts for 16 percent of all shoot days and 21 percent of domestic production, while 25 percent of domestic production takes place outside of the production centers of Southern California, New York, Chicago and Florida.

According to Miller, the survey’s most alarming finding was that 57 percent of the companies surveyed reported that final payments from agency clients routinely arrived later than the date stipulated in the contract issued by the agency. 44 percent also reported that they had observed an increase in such delays during the study period. “The agency payment practice results were horrifying,” Miller says. “If you have that much late payment, you have [production] companies trying to figure out how to have some cash flow. Some of them take out loans, and the interest on those loans just adds overhead for the entire industry.”

The membership survey, the results of which are distributed to all AICP members, will continue to be conducted annually.

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