U.S. to Remaster Economic Data With Digital Streaming and Vinyl

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(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government’s economic data will soon catch up with digital reality for consumers and detail spending on streaming video and audio services like Netflix and Spotify.

It will also acknowledge the comeback of an analog standby: vinyl records.

The consumer-spending category of “video media rental” will be renamed “video and audio streaming and rental,” with video and audio service subcategories, according to the Commerce Department’s preview Tuesday of broad annual revisions to data and methodology scheduled for late July. Other nomenclature tweaks will denote the inclusion of new-economy innovations like tablets and ride-sharing services, while retiring references to relics such as fax machines and blank videotapes.

Previous Series Title

New Series Title

Prerecorded and blank audio discs/tapes/digital files/downloadsAudio discs, tapes, vinyl, and permanent digital downloads
Video cassettes and discs, blank and prerecordedVideo discs, tapes, and permanent digital downloads
Video media rentalVideo and audio streaming and rental
   Video streaming and rental services
   Audio streaming and rental services
Personal computers and peripheral equipmentPersonal computers/tablets and peripheral equipment
Telephone and facsimile equipmentTelephone and related communication equipment
TaxicabsTaxicabs and ride sharing services

The changes are aimed at providing “additional insight into the digital economy,” the report said.

Other changes coming in July include an effort to improve seasonal adjustments to gross domestic product, as well as introduce non-seasonally adjusted figures, according to the preview.

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