Los Angeles film crews may have little to cheer about this holiday season, except for one thing: The improving economy continues to spur a recovery in commercial production.
On-location filming for commercials last week generated 213 production days (defined as permission for a single crew to work at a single location during a 24-hour period), up 9% over the same period a year ago.
In a sign that things could be improving, commercial production has increased in six of the last seven weeks and rose about 30% in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to data from Film L.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that coordinates film permits.
The data provide the clearest evidence yet that sector has shaken off the slump from earlier this year, when advertisers -- especially the Big Three automakers -- severely curtailed spending in the wake of the deep recession.
Commercial production is a major source of employment in Los Angeles, which is home to 170 commercial producers.
This week Toyota and Honda are both shooting commercials in L.A., joining other high-profile names such as American Express, Anheuser-Busch and Wal-Mart that have filmed locally in recent weeks.