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L.A. continues rebound in commercial shoots

December 22, 2009 | 11:00 am

December commercials

L.A. film crews may have little to cheer about this holiday season, except for one thing: The improving economy continues to spur a recovery in commercial production.

On-location filming for commercials last week generated 213 production days (defined as a single crew's permission to work at a single location during a 24-hour period), up 9% over the same period a year ago.

In fact, commercial production has increased in six of the last seven weeks and rose about 30% over the same period in 2009, according to data from Film L.A. Inc, the nonprofit group that coordinates film permits.

The data provide the clearest evidence yet that the sector has shaken off the slump earlier this year, when advertisers - especially the Big Three automakers - severely curtailed spending in the wake of the deep recession.

Commercial production is a major source of employment in L.A., which is home to 170 commercial producers. Although the advertising industry is based in New York, most  commercials are filmed here.

This week, Toyota and Honda are both shooting commercials in L.A., joining other high-profile corporate names such as American Express, Wal-mart and Bud Light that have filmed locally in recent weeks.

-- Richard Verrier