How can one put a value on local broadcasting? Well, NAB is trying.
It commissioned a study to try to figure out how many jobs — and even how much of the U.S. gross domestic product — can be attributed to local commercial radio and TV. The association hopes to dramatize broadcasting’s role at a time when legislators and regulators in Washington have been debating spectrum policies.
The report was done by Woods & Poole Economics with help from research firm BIA/Kelsey. They reported that $1.17 trillion — that’s 7% — of the country’s annual GDP “originates” in local commercial broadcast radio and television and that 2.52 million jobs are attributable to the industry each year.
Of course, radio and TV don’t employ two and a half million people.
Radio, the study found, directly employs 118,000 people and contributes $18 billion to GDP, while TV has 187,000 people and accounts for $30 billion. But the study also included “ripple effects” of broadcast employment through consumption; it said local commercial broadcasting generates $135 billion in additional GDP and 833,000 jobs. (Noncom stations and networks were excluded from the analysis.)
And the analysis also looked at economic activity generated by local commercial broadcasting as a forum for advertising goods and services. It estimates advertising on local stations stimulates $986 billion in economic activity and supports 1.38 million jobs.
NAB head Gordon Smith said in the announcement that 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.” He said legislators who want to change 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 study authors wrote, “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.”
Related: “Study Gives State Broadcasters Some Leverage”