Film/Television Industry and New Mexico’s Economy

May 24, 2022

Briefs, News

On January 20, 2008, New Mexico’s most well-known blockbuster film, Breaking Bad, was first released. About $1 million was spent producing each episode, providing an economic boom to local companies and businesses throughout New Mexico.

Over the last few years, New Mexico has broken revenue records, specifically from the film and television industries. This revenue windfall has provided the monetary support for community programs and social reforms, which directly benefits New Mexican residents and our economy. 

By utilizing taxpayer money as an incentive to the film industry, there has been a substantial increase in the number of movies and shows filmed here.  New Mexico offers a 25%-35% tax credit on money spent related to the filming industry with no limit on the amount that can be earned.

The tax credit has resulted in increased revenue, including relocation expenses and rent for filming location sites throughout New Mexico. They have also provided employment opportunities and income for local businesses and vendors. Despite the state forgoing some revenue through the tax incentives, the increased spending exponentially makes up for the lost revenue.

One of New Mexico’s primary sources of income is its tourism and hospitality. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, new Government mandates drastically affected the tourism and hospitality industry, leading to substantial economic setbacks for our state. Following the Pandemic, New Mexico’s film production sectors bounced back quicker than other industries and helped fill the shortfall.

In early 2021, NBCUniversal (NBCU) opened a production hub in downtown Albuquerque and later signed a licensing agreement with Netflix which gained additional revenue for NBCUniversal. The lucrative deal allows Netflix to stream any future NBCU films while also continuing to allow NBCU to continue streaming on their own channels.

This arrangement has resulted in  9,000 new permanent jobs with a living wage of $56,000 annually for New Mexican residents. Additionally, 40% of their budgets are spent with New Mexico’s local vendors and businesses. If the collaboration continues to be successful, they are unlikely to leave New Mexico.

The increased film and television industry business has been of crucial benefit for New Mexican residents. It has provided thousands of permanent full-time jobs in addition to thousands of temporary jobs and significant spending throughout New Mexico. The Pandemic negatively affected New Mexico’s economy substantially. The new revenue stream from increased film productions more than makes up for the loss.

Liliana Chavez is a 9th-grade writer for the ASK Academy newspaper, The ASK Catalyst.

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