The Economic Impact of Montana Film Production: An Analysis of the Industry and the MEDIA Act

The production of feature films, television series, and commercials can generate significant economic activity for their host communities, drawing out-of-town spending, generating jobs, and supporting local businesses. Because of this potential boost to local economies, many states provide incentives to attract productions as an economic development initiative.

In 2019, the Montana State Legislature passed the Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement Act (MEDIA Act) to provide a transferable income tax incentive to attract film, television, and other media production to the State.

In 2020, the Montana Film Office retained Econsult Solutions to quantify the economic impact of film production in Montana and the Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement Act (MEDIA Act).

ESI’s initial report provided an analysis of the economic, fiscal, and societal impacts from film and television production in the state and specifically evaluated the impacts associated with the MEDIA Act Tax Credit Program. Impacts were evaluated for film, television, and other production activity over an 18-month period (January 2019–June 2020). Following the release of this first study, ESI was contracted to expand the data set through June of 2022. To do so, a survey of TV and filmmakers was conducted, the results of which helped to fine tune the impact analysis which was incorporated in an updated report to the Montana Film Office. The report and summary are key to their advocacy with stakeholders.

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