Chew On This

Independent film and TV producers fight the conglomerates

Averaging the latest figures available from 2004-07, independents made 446, or 78 percent, of the 568 titles turned out in each of those four years. That led to the creation of more than 198,000 full-time motion picture jobs annually, accounting for 55 percent of all of those available in the industry (including 107,000-plus in the production and service sectors).

Overall, independents were responsible for generating in excess of $14 billion per year in wages, which contributed nearly $2.7 billion to U.S. and state tax coffers.

Before the government repealed the Financial Interest & Syndication Rules in 1993, which had reasonably limited the amount of content broadcast networks could own, many independents might have been able to financially survive these tough economic times — preserving all of the jobs and tax revenues they have created.

Back then, we independents could generate substantial license fees selling series and TV movies to ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Sadly, however, we’ve seen programming from independent sources plummet from 50 percent of the networks’ prime-time schedules in 1989 to 18 percent in 2006, while network-owned content soared from 15 to more than 75 percent



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