Study: Cable industry employs 1.5M nationwide

Thu, 06/12/2008 - 8:30am
Traci Patterson

The U.S. cable industry accounts for 1.5 million jobs nationwide, representing nearly $62 billion in personal income and a gross economic output of about $227 billion, according to a study by Bortz Media and Sports Group that has been released by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

Between 2002 and 2007, direct and indirect employment attributable to the cable industry increased by almost 367,000 jobs, the study found, which accounted for nearly 5 percent of all net new jobs created by the U.S. economy during that five-year period.

And a major source of the industry’s job growth and economic impact can be attributed to its aggressive re-investment of capital – $130 billion since 1996 – to develop broadband infrastructure that is now available to 92 percent of U.S. households, the study found.

“Cable’s investment in and deployment of broadband service is a consumer success story that has dramatically changed the Internet experience and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in communities all across America,” said Kyle McSlarrow, the NCTA’s president and CEO. “At a time of economic uncertainty, we are especially proud to make a positive and substantial contribution to the American economy.”

According to the study:

  • The cable industry directly employs 365,300 workers; cable operators with 7,000 local cable systems directly employed 229,000 people nationwide who earned more than $14 billion in compensation.
  • There are at least 300 cable industry employees in each U.S. Congressional district and more than 2,000 cable employees in selected districts; cable is responsible for an additional 136,000 jobs from cable-related service industries.
  • Program networks provide direct employment to 46,500 people and directly and indirectly accounted for 767,000 U.S. jobs representing almost $30 billion in personal income; gross economic output attributable to the program network industry amounts to more than $100 billion.
  • Annual spending on programming by basic networks has doubled in the last five years, from $9.2 billion in 2002 to $18.8 billion in 2007, and the Top 20 cable networks spent an average of $566 million per network during 2007, compared with $321 million in 2002.
  • Between 2002 - 2006, the number of national basic and digital cable programming networks grew from 308 to 565, and viewing of basic cable programming networks increased more than two and a half times from the 1994-95 to the 2006-07 seasons.
  • The cable industry’s annual contributions to charities, nonprofit organizations and state/municipal budgets is more than $6.5 billion.

“The cable industry is an important provider in the delivery of entertainment and information to the American consumer and has a significant and rapidly growing role in the delivery of telecommunications services,” the report states. “Through its aggressive re-investment of capital and its efforts to deploy new and innovative services to consumers, the industry has fostered the development of a highly competitive telecommunications market and has been a catalyst for broadband growth in the U.S. Through these investment and innovation initiatives, the industry has exerted a substantial impact on the United States economy.”

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