TaxWatch Staff

Is the Sun Setting on Film in Florida?

The production and distribution of motion pictures and television programs is one of the nation’s most valuable cultural and economic resources. The U.S. motion picture and television industry is a major private sector employer, supporting 2.1 million jobs and $139 billion in total wages in 2016.

Direct industry jobs generated $53 billion in wages in 2016, with average salaries 42% higher than the national average. There were nearly 342,000 jobs in the core business of producing, marketing, manufacturing, and distributing motion pictures and television shows. These are high-quality, high-paying jobs, with an average salary ($90,000) that is 68% higher than the average salary nationwide. There were more than 354,000 additional jobs in related businesses that distribute motion pictures and television shows to consumers.

The motion picture and television industry is a nationwide network of more than 93,000 small businesses, 87 percent of which employ fewer than 10 employees. The industry contributed $134 billion in sales to the overall economy in 2016 and generated $20.6 billion in public revenues from sales taxes on goods, state income taxes, and federal taxes (including income tax, unemployment, Medicare and Social Security), based on direct employment in the industry.

In 2017, there were more than 4,400 established businesses in Florida’s film and entertainment industry (excluding digital media), employing more than 26,000 Floridians. These too are high-quality, high-paying jobs, with average salaries of more than $81,700. This is almost 69 percent higher than the average annual wage for all Florida industries ($47,060). The total wages paid to employees in Florida’s film and entertainment industry in 2016 were $2.2 billion.

The industry also supports indirect jobs and wages in thousands of companies with which it does business, such as caterers, dry cleaners, hotels, florists, security guards and off-duty law enforcement officers, hardware and lumber suppliers, software, and digital equipment suppliers, as well as jobs in other companies doing business with consumers, such as video retailers and services, theme parks and tourist attractions.

For decades, film and entertainment content was delivered to consumers through movie theaters and a limited number of television networks. With the advent of digital technology, consumers no longer wait passively for the release or delivery of media content. With digital technology, content delivery is more dynamic and personalized. Consumers can now view content through any number of technology platforms. This proliferation of content distribution platforms has created competition which, in turn, has created opportunities for job creation and new revenues for state and local governments --- significant revenues.

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