U.S. Government Puts Value of Nation's Creative Works at $74 Billion

Calculation factors investment in "artistic originals" for the first time.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis is now factoring entertainment, literary and artistic creations in its calculation of the nation's gross domestic product.

And according to figures released Wednesday, investments in movies, TV shows, music and other "artistic originals" added $74.3 billion to the economy in 2012. The government also counted $75.3 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

The move reflects a conscious decision on the bureau's part to treat intellectual property as more than a cost of doing business, but for the value these works bring to the economy.

Trade associations in the entertainment industry cheered the news.

"The change reflects that in economic terms, film and television works are an intangible asset, not an expense," said MPAA chairman Chris Dodd in a statement. "These artistic originals will be getting the recognition they deserve as long-term investments that contribute to the strength of the U.S. economy."

"This news is more than just a revised number," wrote Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO of the RIAA on the group's blog. "For too long, the underlying economic contribution of the American creative industries has been given short shrift. That was overdue for a change, and we’re pleased that the Department of Commerce has recognized the need to more accurately reflect the value of investment in creativity."

Overall, the U.S. economy was reported to be 3 percent bigger than previously thought.

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