One service sector experiencing an export boom is popular American culture, particularly movies and television. In a recent issue of The American Enterprise magazine, economist Stephen Siwek provides some telling statistics.
From 1987 to 1990, the U.S. film industry's real revenues from foreign movie-theater rentals rose 57%, to $1.94 billion. At the same time, its overseas television revenues rose 92%, to $2.33 billion, its home-video rental revenues rose 95%, to $2.39 billion, and its foreign pay-tv revenues more than tripled, to $320 million.
While imported films accounted for only 2% of the domestic box office take in 1990, U.S. films accounted for at least four of the top five films in 13 European countries and six Latin American countries, plus Japan, Australia, and South Africa. And Cable News Network is now accessible in 136 nations and territories, up from two in 1982.