Movie studios tout job creation to U.S. lawmakers


June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 21, 2009 at 8:11 AM EDT

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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's major film
and television studios Tuesday began a new push to educate
U.S. lawmakers about the entertainment industry by touting job
creation in the recession and media's global trade surplus.

The lobbying effort by the Motion Picture Association of
America, which represents the key film and TV studios in
governmental affairs, comes after the U.S. Senate in February
stripped $246 million in tax breaks for entertainment companies
from President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package.

In a study released Tuesday, the MPAA said the
entertainment industry employs 2.5 million U.S. workers and
production is increasingly moving to states outside California
and New York.

The movement away from the epicenters of film and TV is due
in many cases to tax incentives that lure producers.

The MPAA said the industry contributes $41.1 billion in
wages to U.S. workers, with an average salary of $74,700 for
employees with projects in production, which is higher than the
national average.

"All this together indicates that this is an important part
of the American economy, and we can be a big, important,
positive factor to economic renewal," Dan Glickman, chairman
and chief executive of the MPAA, told Reuters.

Tuesday, the MPAA is hosting a full-day symposium for
lawmakers in Washington to highlight the importance of movie
and TV production and encourage the federal government's
involvement in trade issues such as fighting copyright piracy.

Vice President Joe Biden will be among those speaking.

The jobs data is important, the MPAA believes, because in
February when film and TV tax incentives were stripped from the
federal bill, some lawmakers pointed to the movies' robust box
office and argued Hollywood has no need for tax breaks.

"I think it was unfair, and it didn't get much debate at
all," Glickman said. "One of the reasons we want to help
educate lawmakers is to let people know that Hollywood is more
than just weekend box office," he said.

The MPAA's employment figures include 285,000 Americans in
the core business of producing, marketing and distributing
content. Another 478,000 work in related businesses, including
at theaters, TV stations and video stores.

The industry helps provide 1.7 million indirect jobs at
companies that do business with film and TV companies, such as
clothing retailers, caterers and lumber suppliers.

The MPAA report, which is based on statistics from 2007,
notes the industry employs workers in all 50 states. The top
state is still California, where the major movie studios are
based and where the industry generates $16.3 billion in wages.
New York is second with $7.4 billion.

But the report said production has increasingly shifted to
other states, including Texas where the industry generates $1.7
billion in wages, and Florida with $1.5 billion.

In many states, governments provide tax breaks to lure film

The MPAA report said that, unlike other industries, film
and TV production generates a trade surplus for the United
States to the tune of $13.6 billion.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte
and Eric Walsh)

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