Researches Symbola

2022 audiovisual activities: data on businesses and employment

Symbola Foundation | July 2023

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Employment in 2022

The starting point for quantifying the total number of workers involved in audiovisual activities is the data on domestic employment of the so-called audiovisual core perimeter, consisting of the five ATECO 2007 classes (59.11 – Theatrical, video & TV production activities; 59.12 – Theatrical, video & TV post-production activities; 59.13 – Theatrical, video & TV distribution activities; 59.14 – Exhibition activities; 60.20 – TV programming and broadcasting activities).

These data are expressed in terms of AUW, annual work units3, following the conventions adopted within the national statistics.

This means that a work unit comprises theoretical employees and self-employed workers (divided into self-employed workers and entrepreneurs), who, for example, work for six months each in a year, thus identifying a single work unit.

To find the number of actual workers, quantified as “head counts,” the dependent and independent units must be transformed into a number of full-time workers, and other subjects should be added to this count, belonging to categories not accounted for, as for Managing Directors.

Specifically, the calculation process requires a breakdown and integration of the employed data following a different path depending on the categories concerned.

The overall direct employment of the audiovisual system has recorded a significant increase in 2022 compared to 2021 (revised in light of the changes to the Istat national accounts): +4.1%, a value to be compared with the overall Italian economy which is +1.7%.

3 The unit of measurement of the volume of work performed in job positions is calculated by reducing the unit value of part-time jobs, those of on-call workers and temporary workers in full-time equivalents. Basically the assessment is based on a “theoretical” time involvement of AWU (Annual Work Unit).

Employed workers in the audiovisual system in the two-year period 2021-2022

Starting out from the employee count within the core’s perimeter, it is possible to trace the data to head counts for the years 2019 and 2021 (keeping in mind part-time contracts) by passing through ATECO Istat coefficients (referring to all employees), taking into account the work-unit/job-position ratio4.

4 In the national accounts schemes, job positions represent the number of jobs, given by the sum of the first job positions and multiple job positions, regardless of the number of hours worked.

As a consequence, this aggregate has increased from 38,574 to 44,453 employees in terms of head counts.

However, an additional 3,789 employees traced back to head counts must be added to the above count, based on Istat data (ratio of work units/job positions) of workers operating in companies not belonging to the core perimeterbut contracted as former ENPALS workers (the former social security institution for audiovisual workers) and classified as workers within the five ATECO categories of the audiovisual core perimeter from the viewpoint of employment.

Among independent workers, there are self-employed workers with a high number of head counts, especially with reference to some professions (actors, for example), for which employment takes place for limited periods of the year and is discontinuous or even sporadic. In this case, one AUW (annual work unit) corresponds to many workers, and this data can be supplied by the social security institution INPS, formerly Enpals (Osservatorio Gestione Lavoratori dello spettacolo e sportivi professionisti), which integrates self-employed workers with additional units and allows to find the average number of paid days over the year for each ATECO code and profession, and therefore define the head count. Based on all these factors, the final count significantly grew in 2022, counting 51,387 self-employed workers expressed in headcount.

116,922 individuals involved in the audiovisual business

As well as the figures above, we should add 2,804 businessmen and 14,489 managing directors operating within the selected ATECO codes within the Chamber of Commerce registers (non-entrepreneurs, already included among independent employees), counted once, although their offices can be multiple.

This completes the picture of 116,922 individuals involved in the overall audiovisual system, a figure close to the overall employment levels of the years preceding the pandemic crisis.

Breakdown of job positions in view of computing the overall audiovisual employment in terms of head counts for the years 2021 and 2022

AUWHead counts
Head counts
EmployedEmployees of companies within the audiovisual core perimeter.
Data computed as head counts on Istat data (working unit/job positions ratio)
Self-employed workersSelf-employed workers computed as single individuals on former Enpal/Inps data (Osservatorio Gestione Lavoratori dello Spettacolo e Sportivi Professionisti) according to paid days/year, integrated with self-employed workers count retrieved by former Enpal data8.54447.0149.33951.387
EntrepreneursData computed on the Business Register within the audiovisual core perimeter (Infocamere)2.8112.8112.8042.804
Managing DirectorsData computed on the Business Register with specific reference to head counts and not positions within the audiovisual core perimeter (Infocamere)14.15514.489
Former Enpal employees outside the core perimeterEmployees of companies not belonging to the audiovisual core perimeter but under former Enpal contracts and classified as workers within the five economic classes of Ateco.  Data computed on head counts on Istat data (working unit/job positions rapport)3.0273.4883.2883.789


Il confronto di questi dati con l’anno 2021 (in parte rivisto per la revisione delle cornici di Contabilità Nazionale Istat) restituisce una dinamica complessiva del +4,7% (migliorando ulteriormente il +4,1% di dinamica relativo alla componente più diretta). 
The comparison of these data with the year 2021 (partly revised by the Istat National Accounting frameworks) presents an increase of +4.7% (further improving the +4.1% relating to direct employment).

The 2021/2022 comparison returns a generally positive picture for all sectors considered. With a variation of +9.8%, self-employment recorded the highest result (the same that had suffered the greatest decline during the pandemic crisis), followed by employees outside the core (+8.6%), managing directors (+2.4%), employees (+0.6%) and therefore by the substantial stability of entrepreneurs, which can be linked to the results of the entry/exit Business Register rate.

Percentage variation of individuals working in the audiovisual system in the two-year period 2021-2022