Smile, Toronto, you’re on camera!

Film, television and digital production in Toronto hits record-breaking $2 billion in 2016. Domestic and foreign film, television, digital and commercials production investments in Toronto had a third record-setting year in 2016 and achieved the $2.01-billion level for the first time.

“The epic growth of our creative screen sector illustrates that Toronto is a compelling and competitive global production hub with a long-term, sustainable success story,” said Mayor John Tory. “We’re proud of Toronto’s film and television industry and we want it to continue to grow. We will keep working with our industry partners so they have what they need to create jobs, attract talent and contribute to the economy.”

Some of the major highlights for 2016:
• Domestic and international screen-based productions exceeded the $1-billion mark for the sixth consecutive year, with a 33% increase over the $1.55 billion reported in 2015.
• Foreign major production investment in film and television grew to $794 million, a 49% increase from 2015. Since 2014, foreign production investment has increased by 129 per cent.
• Investment in animation and visual effects grew to $403 million, a 179-per-cent increase from the $144.5 million reported in 2015. Since 2014, investment in this area has increased by 363% from $87.1 million.
• Television series, foreign and domestic, remains the dominant investment type in Toronto with an increase to $908 million in 2016.
• Investment in commercials production continued to rise to record levels, growing to $380 million, a 10% increase from the $345 million reported in 2015. Since 2014, investment in this area has increased by 95% from $195 million. (Note that this type of investment is measured by Toronto but not by other levels of government.)
• The number of location filming shoot days has seen three record breaking years, with an increase to 7,280 shoot days in 2016.

“The sector’s exceptional growth is the result of the city’s abundance of high quality talent and world-class facilities, supported by provincial and federal tax incentives available to productions in Toronto,” said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee.

The above numbers also help to show a larger Toronto industry success story. Combining the $2 billion in investment noted above with figures from broadcasters and the interactive digital media cluster results in a total investment figure of $3.26 billion for all of Toronto’s film, television and digital media production in 2016. That figure represents a 16% increase from 2015.

“These overall figures confirm the expanding economic impact of Toronto’s screen-based industry and validates its contribution to the vitality, prosperity and creativity of our city,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth), Chair of the Toronto Film, Television and Digital Media Board.

— Shane Gerard

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