Soundstages Are in Demand
The little screen is generating more content than ever before, edging out Hollywood’s film industry as a major consumer of studio space. Studio and soundstages like L.A. Center Studios, Sunset Bronson Studios, Sunset Las Palmas, Goya Studios Los Angeles soundstage and others are enjoying a boom in business like they haven’t seen in several decades.
The demand for content from television industry giants like Amazon Prime, Netflix and new media such as Buzzfeed has led to a shortage of soundstage space in Los Angeles. Clients are leaving the southern United States and flocking to California to benefit from new tax incentives and world-class facilities.
LA’s new tax incentives are a reaction to companies moving their production to states with lower taxes like Georgia and Louisiana. The attempt to bring filmmakers back to California is working extremely well, attracting traditional movie business as well as television giants and video short work from companies like Buzzfeed. There is so much demand for new content that studios are having trouble keeping up.
This influx of business comes at a time when land in LA is selling for a premium, creating the perfect storm for soundstages to be able to negotiate some seriously lucrative deals. It’s a true seller’s market in Los Angeles and tenants who have previously enjoyed flat rates for years at a time are now experiencing increases and signing decade-long contracts, something that would have been unheard of until recently.
Most new major contenders in the television world do not own stages, so it’s in their best interest to secure long-term space in order to continue developing material. Amazon and Netflix’s original content is both sought after and expected by their subscribers so consistent space for production is a must to stay competitive. HBO, a titan in dramatic television since “The Sopranos” era, has also moved a lot of its production back to California.
Many agencies have also been around since Hollywood’s golden era, with some going back as far as the days of silent film. Aging facilities and increased demand mean that many of these soundstages are running at almost full capacity, as opposed to the normal 70 percent. To compound the problem, many studios are expanding at a glacial rate due to environmental and zoning concerns. Hollywood’s notorious red tape means that facility growth could take decades, a major concern when production shoots rose 6.2 percent last year alone.
In addition to traditional mediums like movies and television, short clips for outlets like Buzzfeed and Maker Studios are gobbling up more studio space than ever before. In 2016 production for these short videos rose 46 percent, making new media videos a serious contender for soundstages.
The overextended Los Angeles studios are still attracting their fair share of movie productions, including Warner Brother’s “A Star is Born” and Amazon Studio’s “Beautiful Boy” in addition to Netflix’s “Bright”, “The O.A.” and HBO’s “Veep” and “Ballers”. With the influx of newcomers, it will be interesting to see how soundstages and production companies will evolve.