19 Feb

Incentives, Reality TV, and Employment in the Media

Posted By Politybooks

In a report (link to PDF) by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) on the industry outlook for motion pictures and television production regarding 2009-2010, runaway production and the shift towards (non-scripted, therefore generally non-union and low-cost) reality TV programming are mentioned as the key trends affecting the creative economy of Southern California.

In a Reuters story on the report, the LAEDC is quoted as: “[t]he trends that you see are not favorable […] TheAcademy Awards are coming up, with all their glitz and glamour, but youhave to look behind the curtain, where all the gears and levers are turning.”

Indeed. The business of what the US industry would call runaway production”, but what fits the wholesale shift of media work into global production networks and a new international division of cultural labor has produced its own cottage industry, bringing together “Attorneys, VentureCapital, Private Equity, Hedge Funds, Family Offices, Tax ShelterInvestors, A-list Filmmakers, Section 181 Investors, Motion PictureGroups At Agencies, New Markets Tax Credit Buyers” among others (source: Noci Pictures Entertainment 2008 press release).

All of this reinforces a crucial mantra in contemporary media work: all production is global, but all labor is local.