Sound Stages and Production Companies: US

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Sound Stages and Production Companies: US

Key Takeaways

  • According to BLS data, as of the second quarter of 2021, the total number of sound stages in the US is 1,704.
  • According to FilmLA's report, the estimated number of sound stages in the US is 2,032.
  • According to BLS data, as of the second quarter of 2021, the total number of production companies in the US is 22,441.

Introduction

This report provides the total number of sound stages and productions companies available in the US. The numbers were obtained from official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data and FilmLA's report.

Sound Stages

  • "Sound Recording Studios" was identified as the BLS equivalent term for sound stages.
  • BLS describes "Sound Recording Studios" as "establishments primarily engaged in providing the facilities and technical expertise for sound recording in a studio. This industry includes establishments that provide audio production and postproduction services to produce master recordings. These establishments may provide audio services for film, television, and video productions".
  • According to BLS data, as of the second quarter of 2021, the total number of sound stages in the US is 1,704.
  • FilmLA's Sound Stage Production Report provided the number of stages for the five major jurisdictions in North America and their total estimated total square footage as shown in the chart below.
  • The estimated total square footage for the five major jurisdictions is 17.3 million (5.2 million + 3.5 million + 2.5 million + 2.3 million + 2 million + 1.8 million).
  • This is far greater the findings of a CBRE report which estimated that there are over 11 million square feet of sound stage space in North America.
  • The total number of sound stages for the three major jurisdictions in the US (Los Angeles, Georgia, and New York) is 691 (384 + 107 + 200).
  • Comparing the BLS data, the total number of sound stages for the three major jurisdictions in the US (Los Angeles, Georgia, and New York) is 578 (292 + 80 + 206).
  • This gives a 34% market share of the total number of sound stages in the US ((578 / 1,704) * 100%).
  • Applying the 34% to FilmLA's data: 691 * (100 / 34) = 2,032.
  • Hence, the estimated number of sound stages in the US is 2,032.

Production Companies

Research Strategy

To search for the total number of sound stages and productions companies available in the US, we first explored the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS provides employment and data for all industries and sub-sectors in the US, which includes the number of establishments in any industry or sub-sector.
Using the Industry Finder tool of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages page of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we were able to find the total number of sound stages and production companies.
In the course of searching for the number of sound stages, we identified "Sound Recording Studios" as the BLS equivalent term.
Next, we compared the data with that of FilmLA. We found that there are discrepancies between the BLS data and the FilmLA data which could be due to the difficulty in identifying sound stages. FilmLA noted that it is difficult to make an accurate count of certified stage spaces due to the fact that "certification standards and public record keeping vary by local government jurisdiction; some studios are in the midst of renovation and/or adding stages; and some studios have long-term tenants and therefore may choose to not advertise in publications".
We attempted to triangulate the number of sound stages using the total square footage and the average size of each sound stage location. However, we couldn't do that as the estimated total square footage for the five major jurisdictions in North America (17.3 million) is far greater than the estimated total square feet of sound stage space for the whole of North America (11 million). In addition, the range of sizes for sound stage square footage is very wide (between 1,800 and 41,985 square feet).
We proceeded to build an estimated number from the three biggest sound stage jurisdictions in the US considering their market share as calculated from the BLS data.
Similarly, we identified "Motion Picture and Video Production" as the BLS equivalent term for production companies and provided the BLS data.

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