Netflix has made its mark by doing things differently than “old Hollywood.” And now the streaming titan is trading in the traditional studios under the shadow of the Warner Brothers sign for the deserts of New Mexico.
Enticed by corporate tax incentives, Netflix is investing in a massive Albuquerque production hub near the city of Mesa Del Sol.
300 acres in the desert should also cost a bit less than in southern California.
Netflix picked up New Mexico-based ABQ Studios in 2018 for just $30 million, vowing to film a billion dollars of projects in the state. And last November, the company doubled down with another billion dollars for film projects, sound stages, training facilities, and more.
That’s made New Mexico the company’s primary North American production hub, and one of the biggest production complexes on the continent. Here’s what got the biggest stream in show business in the door:
- Along with ongoing tax credits for filming, Netflix took home $10 million from New Mexico’s Local Economic Development Act funds and millions in additional city and state incentives.
- The company has agreed to stay in town for at least a decade, and is being compensated with reimbursements for every film shoot of up to 25-30% of qualified costs.
Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller said the move “put the spotlight on our city’s strong film economy and joined our brand to one of the top companies in the new global economy.”
The tally of primetime TV shows in production jumped to 532 in 2019 from just 250 a decade ago. With studio space in high demand, New Mexico officials are hoping Netflix’s investment along with the state’s 310 annual days of sunshine will help it become a permanent production destination.
But not everyone is optimistic. Pat Garofalo of the American Economic Liberties Project says these types of deals can create “perpetual competitive purgatory,” causing cities and states to continuously dole out dollars to support the industry they already paid to attract.
New Madrid: Netflix has set up a similar production hub near Madrid, Spain. Now occupying 20% of the streaming market, odds are both facilities will come in handy.