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Study Finds Local Broadcasting Generates $1.17 Trillion in Annual GDP in the US

A new analysis by Woods & Poole Economics, with support from BIA/Kelsey, has found $1.17 trillion of the annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) originates in the local commercial broadcast radio and television industry, with 2.52 million jobs attributable to the industry every year. The NAB-commissioned study, which breaks down local broadcasters’ economic impact on all 50 states and the District of Columbia, shows TV and radio broadcasting contributes to seven percent of the nation’s GDP.

"As this study indicates, local broadcasting is a remarkable engine for commerce and economic growth, creating high-paying jobs and helping business drive sales through advertising of goods and services," said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. "Decision-makers now debating spectrum policies need to be cognizant of the millions of people and thousands of businesses reliant on the unparalleled impact of local TV and radio for economic survival."

The paper calculated the local broadcast industry employs over 300,000 people directly and in support industries, creating $59.32 billion in GDP annually. Television accounts for almost 187,000 of these jobs, as well as over $30 billion in GDP, while radio employs 118,000 people and contributes a little over $18 billion to the GDP. The study also examined the ripple effects direct employment by local broadcasting has on the economy through the consumption of goods and services by industry employees. Looking at these cascading effects, the analysis concluded local commercial broadcasting generates almost $135 billion in additional GDP and more than 833,000 jobs nationwide.

"TV and radio broadcasting not only provides communities with local news, sports, weather and emergency information, but remains a valuable source of employment that fuels local economies," said Smith. "With the country struggling to recover from the downturn, broadcast innovation that includes mobile DTV and multicasting should be given an opportunity to succeed and put more Americans back to work."

The economic analysis also studied the additional economic activity generated by local commercial broadcasting through its service as a forum for advertising goods and services. The study estimates advertising on local broadcast television and radio stations stimulates more than $986 billion in economic activity and supports 1.38 million jobs.

"The primary role of broadcast television and radio is reducing the cost of product information through advertising. In this way, broadcast television and radio stations have their most significant impact on economic growth," says the report. "Reaching all United States households, local broadcast television and radio stations provide consumers with highly valued marketplace information and businesses with immediate economic and competitive intelligence."

The study focused only on local commercial broadcast radio and television stations including locally owned and operated commercial stations, affiliate stations and independent stations. Noncommercial radio and TV stations and the operations of over-the-air broadcast networks were not part of the analysis, except for networks’ owned-and-operated local television stations.

 [June 23, 2011]


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