Lots of Content, Not Enough Space

Blog Post by Olivia Cabrera, Media and Production Resources Intern
The streaming revolution has come and it’s taking over the way content is meant to be consumed and created. You can no longer be satisfied with only Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and your cable plan anymore. Now, you have to add Disney+, HBOmax, BETtv, Quibi, AppleTV+ and more to your lineup. 

All of these streaming services are giving you more content and more of an excuse to stay in and catch up on all the latest shows. But all of these services making original content is proving difficult for directors and producers to get the job done. The reason for this? The lack of sound stages and production space. 

What’s the Big Deal? 

This recent boom in streaming services has unlocked the doors for an infinite amount of content to be developed, produced, and watched. Everyone in the game is vying to create the next big show. Some recent new releases include AppleTV+’s The Morning Show, Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian and recent developments like HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot, not to mention the steady stream of new content from veterans like Netflix. 

Hollywood is in a whole new ballpark here. Originally, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon were the only players in the streaming game. Now, in addition to big studios and networks competing for space, new original content streaming divisions are jumping on the bandwagon. And it begs the question, do big filming hotspots like Hollywood and New York have space for it? 

According to FilmLA, in their 2019 television report, TV projects for digital platforms are experiencing the most rapid growth in television content. There has been a 2,300 percent increase in the last 10 years, while in 2010-2011 there were only 7 projects being produced digitally to now there are 171 projects[i]. While the number of broadcast and cable projects is decreasing, the number of digital content continues to increase. 
One of the main reasons for this boom is that digital content is more likely to get greenlit for straight to series rather than going through the typical and traditional pilot process. This is because digital content normally has fewer episodes than network shows. According to FilmLA, there was a total of 100 new shows ordered straight to series, 70 of which were new digital projects ordered straight to series in 2018-2019. 
While this boom is great for creators and audiences, it is skewing the supply and demand between producers and soundstages. In 2016, the LA soundstage occupancy rate of certified soundstages was at 96%[ii]. With the content boom from streaming services, there is a steady trend of high occupancy rates of certified soundstages. There is simply too much content in the market and not enough studio space to accommodate the production demands of the industry. 

What’s being done about it? 

Billions and billions are being poured into creating content. This year alone, Netflix has put $15 billion into content[iii]. Following them, Apple and Amazon with $6 billion, and HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney Plus with $2 billion allocated toward content. At the rate that streaming is going, those numbers can only go up from there. 

With all this money going into creating new and original content, there needs to be space to house all of it. To avoid any runaway productions and lure producers, big players in New York and LA are trying to expand and construct more space for all of this content. 

Back in April 2018, Netflix announced that they will be expanding its New York office and create a production hub in Brooklyn. Netflix has invested over 100 million dollars into this project that includes 6 complete soundstages all dedicated to helping them create more original content. At one point in time, Netflix did not make original content, but now it is their driving force that makes them stand out and has pioneered this Content Boom. They have been working in tandem with Governor Cuomo to keep New York City as film-friendly as possible[iv].

On the west coast, the soundstage shortage is such a problem that studios have been looking towards expanding into commercial real estate spaces to accommodate the high demand. The California Film Commission has the 30 mile-zone, which is a studio zone with a 30-mile radius that can be used by union film projects. But that is not enough. Warner Bros and others hope to complete 15 new soundstages by the end of 2020 in the Los Angeles area[v]. But still, as real estate and land prices increase, it is making it more and more difficult for studios to expand. 

Is there a solution? 

Yes, there is and that’s where we come in. At GreenlightGO we are in the business of making room for great content. GreenlightGO is willing to work with any project big or small and help them get the right facilities to meet their needs. By working with us, you gain access to our extensive and vast network of facilities including soundstages, production offices, post-houses and more. Browse our website and book a tour with us to learn more about the different services we offer.