Friday, May 29, 2015

The Economics of the TV Show Nashville

Earlier this month, The Tennessean reported that the state of Tennessee approved $8 million of incentives for the fourth season of ABC's show Nashville. The city of Nashville also plans to chip in about $500,000.  According to the article, the "show spends about $20 million each season on local labor."

Economic incentives seem to be increasingly common, but this arrangement is interesting for a few reasons. First, this is an arrangement that not only brings jobs to town, but also brings publicity and tourists. Second, the lion share of the incentives appear to be coming from the state, but the lion share of the benefits seem to be directed at the city of Nashville - causing some in other parts of the state to complain

Some businesses, like the Bluebird Cafe, are featured regularly on the show, and I wonder whether they pay for that privilege. I don't think they do, but have not been able to find out for sure. 

My wife and I watch the show, if only because we like seeing our city on TV. Nashville is a wonderful place, has been called an "it city" and the "south's red hot town." Even the New York Times did a glowing article on the city Nashville during the tenure of ABC's show. The job market and real estate are both booming in Nashville.

I don't know how much of this success, if any, is due to the show about Nashville, but things do seem to be going well here...except for the increasing traffic. Product placement has been on the rise in media for some time now; perhaps we will see more city, state, and business placement over time.

Current Affairs, Haskell Murray, Jobs, Television | Permalink


Unlike many show arrangements, I do know that the show - Nashville - does use locals in the show as extras and that much of the production has been locally sourced. That said, I've yet to become convinced that these types of subsidies (ex., building sports venues with public money for private business) actually enhance the State economy.

Posted by: Tom N. | May 29, 2015 6:30:08 AM

I am not fully convinced yet either, but the difference between the TV show and typical incentives is that the TV could be seen as a commercial for the city. I imagine tourism has increased substantially since the show, but I haven't seen any serious studies on the issue yet.

Posted by: Haskell Murray | May 29, 2015 7:32:06 AM

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