March 26, 2012 / 10:50 PM / in 7 years

NY studios expand in bid for more films, TV shows

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Five new sound stages catering to film and television productions were opened in New York on Monday in the city’s latest bid to attract a greater share of show business.

The city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, opened the soundproof stages at the Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, predicting they would add more entertainment industry jobs in New York alongside other initiatives including new city grants and a media center.

Media company executives, independent producers and other show business professionals have long complained that New York City had become too expensive to make movies and TV shows.

Director Woody Allen, for one, often said the city famed for being his muse is now too costly and he turned his eye to making films in Europe, including last year’s acclaimed “Midnight in Paris” and before that “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Other productions left New York for cheaper locations in Canada or states like North Carolina, Lousiana or New Mexico that offered financial incentives to shoot there.

But New York City has fought back by helping entrepreneurs launch production facilities. Steiner Studios, which opened in 2004, housed the “Sex and the City” movie and is the current home to the “Boardwalk Empire” TV series.

In addition, New York state has promised to extend a 30 percent film and TV tax credit until 2014.

Bloomberg told reporters on Monday that the new Steiner sound stages had been created to keep up with a growing demand. He characterized the city as now “a popular and prosperous home to hundreds of films and television shows.”

“A little over a decade ago, New York City struggled to attract the lucrative production industry to film here,” said Bloomberg, adding the new stages would “help the next generation of production professionals start their careers on the right track.”

A spokeswoman for the city’s media office said that in 2002 there were nine primetime TV shows filmed in the city and ten years later there are 23. Over the past decade, the city averaged the same number of about 200 film shoots annually, she said.

Other cities and countries including Britain have also stepped up efforts to attract show business.

In November the British government said it was extending tax breaks for the film industry and has considered extending that to TV dramas for makers of TV exports such as “Downton Abbey.”

That move would bring it in to line with many other countries that offer tax relief to TV production, such as France, Hungary, Ireland and South Africa.

Reporting By Christine Kearney, Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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