BEA Puts Half-Trillion Price Tag on Culture, Arts

The Obama Administration maybe pushing science and math as keys to the country's economic future, but singing and dancing are important, too, to the tune of half a trillion dollars.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Thursday released a study showing that, in 2011, arts and culture account for 3.2% percent of GDP, or $504 billion.

Leading the way, motion picture and video production, advertising services, cable television production and distribution, publishing, and the performing arts.

“We welcome this major new initiative by the federal government to better document the important impact that movies, television, publishing and other arts have on our economy – especially in terms of job production and economic development,” said Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, in a statement, “At the MPAA, we’ve seen the important role that movies and television play in creating good-paying jobs and spurring the growth of new business opportunities, not just in Hollywood, but throughout our nation. 

As of July, BEA started treating creative works as intangible assets, not expenses, and takes into account the wide economic impact on jobs, the business of TV and film production, a point MPAA has been making for years.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.