Hollywood Is Running Out of Tombstones

Issue 04-11-16   |   Reviewer:   Michael S. Raisinghani, Ph.D.


The new golden age of television has brought shortages of studio space and production staff.

The U.S. television industry aired a record of more than 400 scripted series in 2015, up from 352 the previous year. The boom in American television production is fueled by the original content ambitions of Netflix and Hulu and by free-spending governments competing to attract production jobs by offering subsidies that can make producing a show affordable even for studios on a budget. 

The production-incentives war that has helped create the shortages began in the 1990s, when Canada began doling out subsidies to lure studios across the border. In the United States, thirty-five states offer production assistance, and several states give studios tax credits, rebates, or grants of about 30 percent of certain production spending. The scarcity of everything, including props and construction crews, during the spring pilot season, when dozens of episodes of would-be series are churned out, has implications on marketing theory and practice.

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