The TV and movie business support 2.5 million American jobs, and most of those jobs are actually in small businesses.
That is according to the second biennial (every two years) report on economic impact of those businesses from the
Motion Picture Association of America and its studio members.
The report suggests that far from being a collection of media monoliths, show business is actually 115,000 businesses, over 80% employing fewer than 10 people. "One-quarter of the businesses are sole proprietorships," says the report.
"In essence, the motion picture and television production industry is largely entrepreneurial and dominated by small
businesses and individuals." That includes an "economically diverse work force," studios add.
The report includes a bunch of figures that take on even greater importance given the current economic downturn and
Washington's focus on stimulating the economy.
The industry accounts for $14.1 billion in wages, $38.2 billion in business for outside U.S. vendors and suppliers,
$13 billion in taxes and represents a $13.6 billion trade surplus, or about 10% of the entire surplus in private
sector service industries, says MPAA.
The taxes break down this way: "$4.1 billion in income taxes at the federal level and $1.9 billion in income taxes at
the state level, along with $6.4 billion in additional unemployment, Medicare and Social Security taxes, in addition
to sales taxes on goods."
The studios cast a wide net to get that job figure. In addition to the 285,000 core industry employees--full time,
part time and freelance--and suppliers of props, special effects, film, wardrobe and location services, it also is
counting in 478,000 people in "related businesses" which includes employees of "movie theaters, video rental
companies, broadcasters, cable companies, and online ventures like Hulu and TV.com". MPAA includes a chart to try to
illustrate just how many people go into the making of a movie.
Add in the 1.7 million "indirect jobs," which include everything from florists, clothing stores, car rentals, car
dealers, caterers, dry cleaners, hardware suppliers, lumber yards, retailers, restaurants and tourism. To back up the
tourism claim, MPAA references a Journal of Travel Research study that concluded that a feature film location can
see a 75% increase in tourist traffic the year after it is featured in the film. There are the location tours for
shows like The Sopranos or Seinfeld, and then there is the Dyersville, Iowa, corn field featured in Field of Dreams.
The site still draws 65,000 people a year even 20 years later, said MPAA.
The report also points out that the average salary of those in core/related industries was $75,000 a year, or 76%
higher than the national average.
MPAA points to the TV and film production going on in all 50 states and D.C. outside of the bicoastal production hubs
of California and New york, the top five states for production are Illinois, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and
Pennsylvania, while up-and-comers include Michigan, Arizona and Connecticut.
The report is based primarily on 2007 data, with 2008 used where available. MPAA says it erred on the conservative
side with its estimates. Payroll, vendor and tax info came from periodic surveys, with "core" business data coming from
ABC, Dreamworks, Fox, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film Corp. The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. and their subsidiaries and affiliates.