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Netflix effect increases Vancouver studio demand

British Columbia is experiencing a surge in requests for studio space, which the Directors Guild of Canada is putting down to the growing demand for content from the likes of Netflix and Amazon.     

The western Canadian province offers generous filming incentive support, which is currently being made more potent by the low value of the Canadian dollar. 

Vancouver is within easy reach of California, which makes it an added attraction for US producers. The city already has several purpose-built studio facilities but filmmakers and TV executives are increasingly converting warehouses and other industrial complexes into studios when the city’s central facilities are full, reports Bell Media.

"In 2015, 409 scripted dramas were produced [in North America] and that's in contrast with 2012 when there were 285 scripted dramas,” said Crawford Hawkins, executive director of the Directors Guild of Canada, in comments to Bell Media. 

“It’s all because of the proliferation of delivery vehicles right now - I'm talking about Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Crave TV. They all want original programming to hype themselves and their particular service, which is what's causing the glut."

The situation in Vancouver echoes that of London, where purpose-built studio facilities are limited and TV productions are often turning to warehouses to use as replacements. 

Television producers sometimes prefer to adapt industrial spaces as they can be cheaper as a base for a series eyeing a long-term base.

British Columbia also offers a separate incentive for digital animation, visual effects and post-production, which has helped boost Vancouver’s hub of creative industries. The city has hosted an animated feature version of Angry Birds from Sony Pictures Imageworks and Australian company Animal Logic has opened a Vancouver office to make the Lego Movie Sequel.

For more on filming in British Columbia see our production guide.