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Economic indicators -- Analysis, Economic conditions -- Oregon


Oregon’s media industries have become increasingly well-known over the last several years, thanks in large part to successful feature length films and television series produced in the state. It is widely known that such productions offer visibility, tourism interest, and a boost to local merchants during their visits. More economically important, but less immediately obvious, are the impacts of a home grown industry of professionals and businesses that thrive in regions able to maintain a reliable stream of production activity. Numerous states now offer incentives to visiting media productions, some focused on big-ticket features and visiting series. In Oregon, the Governor’s Office of Film and Television has emphasized support for a local industry that not only interacts with out-of-state productions, but produces its own content, income, and permanent jobs. Indeed, the state’s media industry has grown substantially over the last decade, and now supports thousands of resident professionals working in film, television, animation, video games, and multimedia.

Providing such support requires incentives that not only compete with other states hopeful to foster similar outcomes, but with other areas of Oregon’s budget. The Film Office has commissioned analyses of the local economic impact of its efforts since at least 2007. This report expands and updates previous work by NERC to measure the costs and economic benefits of Film Office incentives. Such analyses have proliferated in recent years, with widely varying scopes and methodologies. This report conservatively focuses on activity directly related to state incentives, and considers only the implications for Oregon businesses and residents in order to provide a fair assessment of economic impacts.

The analysis confirms that production incentives have a substantial positive economic impact for the state. Further, because the Oregon Film Office specifically targets “indigenous” productions (made in Oregon by Oregonians), and has expanded its scope to include interactive media and video games, the benefits of its incentives reach deeper into the local economy than those of temporary feature film shoots. In total, incentives paid in FY 2015-16 approached $15 million, funded primarily by tax credit auction and Oregon Lottery funds. Although most state incentive funding is given to productions that are not based in Oregon, about 90 percent of the income that follows accrues directly to Oregon workers and businesses. In turn, that income stimulates additional employment, income, and economic output in the state. Incentivized productions directly provided over 1500 above-average wage jobs and an annual average total of $93 million in income to Oregonians working in the industries between 2012 and 2015.


NERC is based at Portland State University in the College of Urban and Public Affairs. The Center focuses on economic research that supports public-policy decision-making, and relates to issues important to Oregon and the Portland Metropolitan Area. NERC serves the public, nonprofit, and private sector community with high quality, unbiased, and credible economic analysis. Dr. Tom Potiowsky is the Director of NERC, and also serves as the Chair of the Department of Economics at Portland State University. Dr. Jenny H. Liu is NERC’s Assistant Director and Assistant Professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning.

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