GDP Rises Now That Govt. Counts TV, Movie Investment

The U.S. government has a better handle--to the tune of almost half a trillion dollars--on how TV shows like HBO's Game of Thrones help drive the overall economy.

Well at least according to Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Chris Dodd. Dodd hailed Wednesday the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis' release of revised GDP numbers back to 1929, which Dodd says now better reflect the contributions of businesses engaged in creating copyrighted works.

According to those new figures, said Dodd, GDP has been 3% more than calculated when investments in research and development and in the creation of copyrighted works like TV and films are included.

"The recognition of expenditures for R&D and for the creation of entertainment, literary, and artistic originals as fixed investment results in upward revisions to gross private domestic investment," said Dodd.

According to the new calculation, R&D and entertainment added $471 billion to the revised overall $16.2 trillion economy, said Dodd, citing a Wall Street Journal report.

"For years, the Bureau of Economic Analysis treated the money that was spent creating new entertainment works as current expenses -- or costs of business," said Dodd. "Therefore the film and television industry was captured in the GDP only downstream based on revenue generated by film and television products, and did not include the impact on the economy based on their investment."

The BEA will now treat creative works as intangible assets, not expenses, and will take into account the wide economic impact on jobs, the business of TV and film production, a point MPAA has been making for years. 

"These artistic originals will be getting the recognition they deserve as long term investments that contribute to the strength of the U.S. economy," said Dodd.

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.