SelectUSA Media and Entertainment Industry
At $660 billion, the U.S. media and entertainment (M&E) industry represents a third of the global M&E industry, and it includes motion pictures, television programs and commercials, streaming content, music and audio recordings, broadcast, radio, book publishing, video games, and ancillary services and products. In 2019, foreign direct investment accounted for $25.4 billion in the motion picture and sound recording industry and $3.4 billion in the radio and cable broadcasting industry. Foreign-owned businesses in the U.S. motion picture and sound recording industry employed 71,800 workers in 2018.
The U.S. motion picture and video industry encompasses films, movie theaters, TV subscriptions and electronic home video production, and distribution and consumption. Traditionally the film industry consisted of multinational umbrella corporations, major studios, and independent studios or “indies.” Today, multi-channel networks engage in the filmed entertainment sector and SVOD platforms are major drivers in the filmed entertainment sector.
Drawing on formidable strengths, the U.S. film industry has a proven ability to produce films that generate hundreds of millions of dollars, including revenues from distribution across strong domestic and international networks. Success in the industry is based on creativity and financing, and the industry is largely self-regulated. The U.S. market has a large talent pool of writers, actors, producers, directors and technical experts, and is home to a variety of film crews, post-production firms, backdrops, and infrastructure to support production. U.S. filmmakers also receive critical protections for their intellectual property.
Many of the leading motion picture studios are part of larger media conglomerates that often include television, video and streaming services, music services, newspaper, cable and magazine segments. The industry offers attractive possibilities for international companies, both large and small, and provides film production tax incentives. With the shift toward digital production and distribution, foreign firms are continually seeking out U.S. digital and animation expertise and new formats.
As of 2019, 40 percent of the 428,900 workers in the industry are employed in arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations, including 72,990 actors, producers, and directors and 51,000 media and communication equipment workers. The second-largest occupation group in the industry are the 76,060 personal care and service occupation workers, including 62,130 entertainment attendants and related workers.
The sound recording industry includes music publishers, sound recording studios, and record production and distribution. Of the 18,580 employees in the industry in 2019, 7,440 workers (40 percent) are employed in arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations such as media and communication equipment workers (4,550 employees earning an average annual wage of $62,500) and entertainers and performers, sports and related workers (2,070 employees earning an average annual wage of $99,210). Other large occupation groups are office and administrative support occupations (3,490 workers earning an average annual wage of $40,280) and management occupations (2,530 workers earning an average annual wage of $139,560).
The broadcasting industry (except internet) includes radio stations, television broadcasting, and cable and other subscription programming. In 2019, the industry employed 268,170 employees, earning an average annual wage of $69,880. Over half of all employees are employed in three occupation groups: media and communications workers (56,270 employees earning an average of $60,410 per year); media and communication equipment workers (44,160 employees earning an average annual wage of $51,590); and entertainers and performers, sports and related workers (36,020 employees earning an average annual wage of $79,310).
Explore the impact of foreign direct investment on U.S. jobs, exports, and innovation in the media and entertainment industry.
The Investor Guide is a high-level view of everything from taxes to immigration and workforce to business structures.
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