New Data: The American Film and Television Industry Continues to Drive Economic Growth in All 50 States

March 18, 2019

WASHINGTON – The American film and television industry supports 2.6 million jobs, pays out $177 billion in total wages, and comprises over 93,000 businesses—according to an analysis of the most recent economic figures released today by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).*

“The impact of the U.S. film and television industry reaches far beyond well-known creative hubs, such as Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta,” said Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA. “This industry supports jobs and businesses in all 50 states and is also highly competitive globally – generating $17.2 billion in exports and a positive balance of trade in every major market in the world.”

The methodology used to calculate these figures was updated with the latest available data and analyses, which included pay television distribution jobs and wages for the first time. Of the 2.6 million total jobs supported by the industry, direct jobs related to the production and distribution of films and television shows totaled 927,000 (340,000 direct production jobs and 587,000 jobs direct distribution jobs). These are high quality jobs, with salaries that are 47 percent higher than the national average for direct jobs in total, and 65 percent higher for direct production jobs.

Of the 93,000 businesses that make up the film and television industry across the country, 87 percent are small businesses, employing fewer than 10 people. In all, the industry makes $44 billion in payments to over 250,000 local businesses. The industry also increases the tax base, generating $29.4 billion in public revenues from sales, state, and federal taxes.

On the global stage, the U.S. film and television industry generates $17.2 billion in exports and has a trade surplus of $10.3 billion, four percent of the total U.S. trade surplus in services.

For a more detailed analysis of the industry’s economic impact, please click here.


Jobs & Wages Supported by the Industry

Sourced from detailed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment data. Direct jobs are calculated from classification codes fully associated with the film and TV industry, as well as industry-related jobs and wages from codes partially associated with the industry estimated by using adjustment factors based on SIC-NAICS bridges, and other updates. Total jobs are calculated using the RIMS II economic model of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which captures indirect/induced effects, i.e. jobs and wages that rely on the industry, and some additional film/TV employment in other industries (e.g. retail). The current analysis is based on their latest model (2016). Note that our recent methodological update resulted in capturing pay television distribution jobs/wages not previously captured. Acquiring a new third party source allowed us to estimate the proportion of those jobs within a code partially associated with the film and TV industry. The national average comes from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (2017 Annual Wages per Employee).

Businesses Making Up the Industry

Calculated based on Dun & Bradstreet business listings data by SIC classification code.

Payments Made by the Industry

Calculated using (1) a survey of member company vendor payments in the U.S. for the applicable year; (2) analysis of overall data on film and TV production by the U.S. film and TV industry.

Tax Revenues Generated by the Industry

Calculated by applying the appropriate national and local tax rates to wages and taxable vendor payments.

Contribution to the Overall Economy

Sourced from Census estimates of annual revenues from employer firms for the applicable classification codes.

International Trade

Sourced from the BEA report on U.S. Trade in Services. The report measures charges for the use of intellectual property by type. The film and television category covers the rights to display, reproduce and distribute motion picture and television programming.

*This report is based on an analysis of 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was made available in late 2018. The release of the report was scheduled for January but delayed due to the government shutdown in early 2019 and the incorporation of new methodological models.


About the MPAA

The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries. Its members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Netflix, Inc.; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

For more information, contact:

MPAA Washington, D.C.
Chris Ortman
(202) 293-1966