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Production Incentives Roundup: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going in 2020

Original publish date: November 7, 2019

With folks in Santa Monica from around the world for the kickoff of the 2019 American Film Market and Conferences, where Media Services is the Presenting Sponsor, we thought it’d be a great time to round up some upcoming production incentives offerings from around the United States, particularly California.

California, Here We Come (for Incentives Program 3.0)

California is about to have a slew of new changes to its production incentive offerings, as Program 3.0 launches in July 2020. CA will get $330 million to go into their incentives pot. This time there will be even more allocated for independent productions, and independent projects with budgets under $10 million will have their own basket of credits to pull from. This is a major development, as the current program has large and small independents competing for the same film incentive funds, sometimes to the detriment of the smaller ones.

The Golden State will also roll out a new career-based training program as well as having a new requirements showing efforts to hire more women and minorities on productions. Production must also sign a pledge condemning any sexual harassment on the job.

The state will additionally have a brand-new incentives bonus for areas outside Los Angeles. This has become a common trend we are seeing in more and more states. It helps spread production through a state and create good faith for legislators whose districts lie outside a production area. Look for California to have an increase in independent production next year, due to these filming incentives enhancements.

The current 2.0 production incentives program is seeing its window close on applications for relocating or reoccurring TV series, as November 4-8 is the final time frame. Features will have one last chance to apply to the current program: March 9-13, 2020.

New York Production Incentive: Start Spreading the News (to Web Commercials)

New York recently had some welcome news for branded content specialists as in 2020, they will allow for online commercials to qualify for the New York Commercial production incentive. This forward-thinking expansion will broaden the New York incentive outside the traditional broadcast commercials they currently cover. Look for more info and rules about this evolution to come in January.
New York also made a slight change for tax credit programs which affects the overall credit allocation. Any New York credits dispersed in 2020 will have a .025% reduction applied to them that will in turn cover diversity job training in the state.

Montana: Incentives Are Back in Big Sky Country

Montana’s production incentive came roaring back earlier this year. The state resurrected a transferrable film tax credit that gives clients upwards of 25% on labor in the state, as well as 20% on qualified Montana production spend. A trifecta of bonuses can bring that 20% film credit up to 30% and even higher. They have a low minimum spend and $5 million in the incentives tank, ready to go for productions in the area.

Mississippi Re-Incentivizes Non-Resident Labor for Productions

Mississippi had become one of the forgotten states for production in the last two years since their production incentives program stopped qualifying non-residents working in the state. However, earlier this year, they brought that element of the incentive program back. Production is increasing in the state as a result, and hopefully some more positive changes to their legislation next year will continue that trend.

New Mexico Riding High with Latest Incentives

New Mexico was of course in the spotlight this year, and we covered it here. They have a 25% refundable rebate, a grab-bag of bonuses, a bunch of infrastructure, and their innovative new production partner program will continue to attract companies like Netflix and NBC Universal to the state. Look for New Mexico to explode in 2020.

Bumps in the Night: Colorado, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Hawaii Film Incentives Get Fund Increases

Colorado’s production incentive recently received a much-needed bump in its film funding, adding $1.25 million to the pot. So they have a $2 million dollar funding cap right now on a very good rebate program. Applicants can still get 20% on all labor and spending incurred in the state. They hope the bump will bring some new shows to the area and give rise to an even larger increase in funding next year.

In addition to the surprise increase to Colorado and its funding, Pennsylvania received $5 million increase to their already impressive $65 million funding pool. Hawaii managed a massive 43% increase to their $35 million cap, ending at $50 million and with hopes for more next year. Rhode Island also received a $5 million bump to their $15 million pot.
Illinois has extended their program to 2026, Arkansas extends theirs to 2029, and Ohio continues to fund its program.

Tried and True Incentives Giants

Throughout 2019 incentive productions have continued to succeed. Georgia remains a strong filming state, Louisiana has really picked up steam again, and states like Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina and New Jersey are getting some great productions.

Making Their Way Back

North Carolina and Florida are working hard currently to bring work back to their filming communities with help from their production incentives. We look forward to tracking their progress in 2020 and beyond.

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