Film and television spend sets record high for wages in New Mexico

The US state spent over $794m from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023

By Priyanca Rajput 20 Jul 2023

Film and television spend sets record high for wages in New Mexico
Rez Ball still. Credit: Netflix

Film, television, and digital media production spend in New Mexico surpassed $2.2bn over the past three fiscal years, setting a record high for industry wages.

The New Mexico Film Office reveals that the industry spent more than $794m in New Mexico from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

“The investments in New Mexico by the film and media industry are delivering higher wages and creating cascading positive economic impacts in communities large and small across the state,” said gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Our continued efforts to create a thriving and robust film industry means more money in the pockets of New Mexico families and businesses.”

The most recent data shows that median hourly wages for industry workers jumped to $35.51m in the past 12 months, up 21%. Additionally, New Mexico communities outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe Corridor saw a 150% increase in direct spending from $6.5m in FY21 to $16.5m in FY23 as a result of the governor’s push to increase opportunities for rural communities.

New Mexico-based productions include: Nickelodeon’s The Loud House franchise, Walt Disney Pictures’ untitled reimagining of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the upcoming Netflix series American Primeval, and the LeBron James feature Rez Ball. Amazon Studio’s Outer Range returned for its second season, and the second season of AMC’s Dark Winds, set to premiere July 30.

“New Mexico has built a strong foundation for this industry – not just at the new studios and stages rising in the metro areas, but throughout the state with our scenic locations and film-friendly communities,” said former Economic Development Department cabinet secretary Alicia J. Keyes. “Now we need to take this momentum and invest in our workforce so New Mexicans can tap into these opportunities, learn new skills and continue to thrive.”

The New Mexico Media Academy is an example of such investments. The HQ will be located at the downtown Albuquerque Rail Yards with a satellite campus in Las Cruces and is estimated to complete construction in 2025. Students at the academy will enter a competitive and growing film and television industry workforce.

“We are building our film, television, and digital media ecosystem from the ground up, with a particular focus on staying competitive and not just being relevant but leading the way into the next frontier of how content is made,” New Mexico Film Office Director Amber Dodson said. “Our best-in-class incentive, workforce, training programs, and soon, the film academy, are all essential to generating opportunity, access, and prosperity for New Mexican residents and businesses, which are the foundation of our sustainable, thriving industry.”

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