Indy Filmers Create Most Jobs, Own Least Content

Toxic Avenger creator Lloyd Kaufmann has a new McClatchy column (7/16/09) “speaking out on behalf of the little guy–or, in the case of independent film and TV producers, the belittled guy,” who generally is still “at the mercy of a handful of vertically integrated network-studio conglomerates, powerful giants that exercise control over the entertainment and media businesses.”

Kaufmann says “the fact is that independents have produced the largest number of motion picture industry jobs,” creating, between 2004â┚¬“07, “more than 198,000 full-time motion picture jobs annually, accounting for 55 percent of all of those available in the industry”:

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Before the government repealed the Financial Interest & Syndication Rules in 1993, which had reasonably limited the amount of content broadcast networks could own, many independents might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,” Kaufmann writes, “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.”