Actually, Jobs In Making Movies Are On The Rise, Not Falling

from the oh-look-at-that... dept

One of the key talking points that the movie industry likes to bring up concerning the reason it wants SOPA and PROTECT IP is that it has to "protect jobs." In a recent talk by the MPAA's Chris Dodd, he once again talked up how many jobs were being "lost" in the movie industry. First, he pulled out the industry's favorite 2.2 million number, which is clearly bogus. As we noted earlier in the week, new research from the Congressional Research Service shows that the movie industry actually employs 374,000, making the claim (pulled from the highly questionable Institute for Policy Innovation) that the industry is losing 373,000 jobs each year... kinda questionable.

But I wanted to get a better understanding of what was actually happening to jobs in and around the motion picture industry. Seeing as CEOs of the major studios continue to bring in record salaries, it certainly sounds like the industry isn't doing that bad. Thankfully, research firm IBISWorld digs pretty deep into different industries to separate out what's happening. After digging through the numbers, it looks like the MPAA is (yet again) being intellectually dishonest.

If you look at the jobs in actual movie production -- the kind that they always imply are most at risk -- it turns out those jobs are growing rapidly. In 2002, there were about 43,000 people employed in the actual production of movies and videos. In 2010? That number had jumped to 77,000. Not bad. So where are the few job losses coming from? Well, there are about 1,500 fewer jobs in "movie and video distribution," but that makes sense, since technology is making that area less important. Really, the only place in the industry that has seen a significant loss in jobs (and even then it's not that big) is in the movie theater business. Employment in movie theaters dropped from about 134,000 in 2002 to about 119,000 in 2010. That accounts almost entirely for the drop in total employment in the movie business from 392,000 down to 374,000 that the CRS report noted.

In other words, the only "significant" job losses that we can spot are coming from the theaters themselves -- and it's difficult to see how that's got much, if anything, to do with piracy. As was noted in the CRS report, box office revenue has continued to hit records every year. So, really, it looks like theaters may just be cutting staff to cut costs, but that revenue at the box office keeps getting higher. So, more money with fewer staff. That's not exactly a story that shows an industry decimated by piracy.
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Filed Under: chris dodd, jobs, movie making, movie theaters, movies, pipa, protect ip, sopa
Companies: mpaa

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Basically all work is done in Asia.
    I wonder why.

    For the same reason Warner Brothers Animation farms out the in-betweening for Green Lantern, Young Justice, Batman: Brave and the Bold, etc. to Korea, but does the scripting, layouts, character design, music, vocal talent, etc. in the US.

    The scripting, storyboarding, and design work for Disney, Warners, Lucasfilm, Fox, etc, is all done in America.
    The labor-intensive in-betweening is done overseas, and has been done since the 1970s. (Most of the 1970s Hanna-Barbera shows including SuperFriends and Josie & the Pussycats were animated in Australia.)

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