Feds: Spending on Movie, TV Development Slows, but Still on the Rise

This is the first year the Commerce Department has included development in its Gross Domestic Product report

Spending to develop movies, TV shows and “artistic originals” in the U.S. increased in the second quarter of the year — though at a slower pace than in the first quarter, according to Gross Domestic Product numbers released by Commerce Department Wednesday.

Spending grew 1.3 percent to $75.9 billion in the second quarter, as compared to the 4 percent in the previous quarter. Still, the feds said, the news wasn't entirely bad. Last year, entertainment spending dropped in the first three quarters, only turning up in the last quarter.

By comparison, the nation’s GDP rose 1.7 percent in the first quarter, adjusted for inflation, the report said.

The numbers were part of the Bureau of Economic Indicators advance report on the second-quarter GDP and will be revised in coming months as more data is received. 

This is the first year that the development figures for movies and TV have been part of the GDP report, which previously included only spending on movie tickets. (This year's report included last year's development figures retroactively.)

The change was made because it was felt that with the inclusion of the development numbers for movies and TV, the GDP would better reflect contributions from investments of intellectual property that would produce later returns. Other industries' development figures historically have been included in the report.

The government has captured data on investment on spending in movies and TV programs going back to 1929 for movies and to 1959 for TV shows; it just hasn’t considered the spending as creating fixed assets to be included in the GDP.

In a posting on the Huffington Post Wednesday, MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd touted the changes as reflecting “the realities of an economy that is dependent on people investing in ideas and developing new intellectual property, along with tangible goods.”

“Put simply, this means that the national GDP now more accurately reflects the economic activity generated by creative works,” Dodd wrote.