GAO: Toy (etc.) deals “unlikely” source of big money

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A newly released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (79-page PDF, see pages 6-7 and 44-52) found little to support the view of Rep. Ginny Browne-Waite (and AIM) that public broadcasting has become a “billionaire” from merchandising deals. The Florida Republican made the claim in 2005 before asking for the GAO study. Few programs generate back-end revenues, GAO explains. The successful ones pay license fees of only 2.5 to 7.5 percent of merchandise retail prices, anyway, and neither PBS nor CPB is likely to get much of that because they don’t make big front-end investments. That’s pretty much what Current reported in 1995 when politicians claimed Barney was making PBS rich.

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