Record ’94 B.O. forecast

Box office receipts for film studios will rise 3% to a record $ 5.2 billion in 1994, while the cable TV industry will shake off the effects of reregulation and see revenues climb by 10% to $ 28.8 billion.

Those are two entertainment industry predictions offered by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce in the U.S. Industrial Outlook 1994 released Tuesday. Commerce soothsayers predict the U.S. economy on the whole will sizzle in 1994, with 121 of 136 industry sectors expected to rack up an increase in sales.

Though the Industrial Outlook report is widely read both inside and outside government, it is hardly infallible in its forecasts.Last year, government researchers predicted U.S. film industry receipts would remain flat in 1993, when in fact total box office revenue is expected to increase a healthy 7% for the year.

The Commerce Dept. predicts in its new report that B.O. revenue will rise from $ 5.1 billion this year (Daily Variety estimates the ’93 take at only $ 4. 98 billion) to $ 5.2 billion in 1994. But the report warns that “with admissions practically stagnant over the past decade, the outlook through 1997 appears to be for modest growth in box office receipts, probably in the range of 1% to 2% per year.”

Hollywood will benefit from continued growth in videocassette rentals and sales. The Commerce Dept. said it expects vidcassette coin to increase at a 5% to 8% clip through the decade, despite the growing threat from pay-per-view and video on demand.

The report is especially bullish in other entertainment sectors. Cable TV industry revenues are expected to increase at a 10% clip, from anestimated $ 26. 3 billion in 1993 to $ 28.8 billion in 1994, with most of the extra coin coming from newly generated advertising sales.

Long-term cable growth is forecast at 5% to 7% over the next five years despite the restraints imposed by passage of the 1992 Cable Act, per the Commerce Dept. Government researchers also predict cable TV penetration will top off at 70% of all U.S. households by the year 2000.

Another banner year is expected in the recording industry, with sales of prerecorded music expected to rise 14% from an estimated $ 10.4 billion in 1993 to $ 11.8 billion in 1994.

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