Annual Film & TV Research Update (2019)

  • September 6, 2019

Vancouver Economic Commission reports Film & TV Industry paid $10.2 billion in local wages from 2012–2018

According to the Vancouver Economic Commission’s (VEC) annual film spend research, the local film and television industry’s total production spend in 2018 was $3.8 billion. The same research finds that the industry has spent $18.7 billion since 2012, including paying British Columbians $10.2 billion in salaries and wages.

Vancouver Economic Commission reports Film & TV Industry paid $10.2 billion in local wages from 2012–2018

These numbers illustrate the sector’s direct economic impact. They omit the indirect economic benefits the film industry has on many other sectors, such as tourism, accommodation, hospitality and transportation.

The $3.8 billion spend cements Vancouver’s place as North America’s third-largest production centre, behind L.A. and New York, and ahead of Atlanta ($3.6 billion) and Toronto ($1.96 billion).

Numbers at a Glance

  • Total direct spend was $3,790,562,613, or $3.8 billion
  • Since 2012, the film industry has spent $18,737,897,486, or $18.7 billion in the local economy
  • Of this, $10,280,545,452 or $10.3 billion has been paid to British Columbians as salaries and wages

Within the industry, VEC sees opportunities for more growth in the post-production and animation sectors. This is due to increased demand from streaming services and international production companies, and the fact Vancouver is home to one the world’s highest concentrations of visual effects and animation artists.

Overall, with upcoming studio developments and expansions in the Lower Mainland, VEC projects physical film, television and commercial spending will hold steady in 2019.


VEC uses publicly available data, including data obtained through WorkSafe BC, to calculate the total payroll for the film, television, post-production and animation industry in BC (as defined by classification units 763025 and 763024).

VEC estimates the ratios of payroll to total spend for the industry using existing CAVCO data, and through consultation with industry experts and financial & HR staff at leading film, television, post-production and animation companies.

  • This research encompasses feature films, television series, commercials, documentaries, animation, and post-production activities, but does not include TV broadcasting and games development
  • Datasets are for the calendar year rather than fiscal year

This methodology has been independently validated and approved by PwC and their team of global media experts.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash