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2023 Entertainment Diversity Progress Report Released... Interesting Results.

 2023 Entertainment Diversity Progress Report Released... Interesting Results.
Posted By: Will Moss on April 18, 2023

Today, Luminate, the preeminent entertainment data and insights company released its flagship Entertainment Diversity Progress Report today from the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas. The report, which was last released in December 2021, shows minimal growth in representation both on and behind the screen across multiple underrepresented groups between 2021 and 2022 and offers multiple in-depth stats across the following groups’ presence in film and television: Gender, Black, LGBTQ+, Latin/Hispanic, Asian, Indigenous, Middle Eastern/North African, Disabled Individuals.

Speaking from on the ground in NAB ahead of his presentation on the report, Mark Hoebich, EVP, Head of Luminate Film & TV, said, “One of our primary goals in creating the Entertainment Diversity Progress Report is to provide respectful, objective and accurate information to help drive the much needed change around diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. Our partners depend on our broader DEI dataset to measure internal progress, benchmark and identify talent that can ensure authentic and respectful storytelling. When looking at the data in this most recent report, we encourage all of our partners in Hollywood to celebrate the gains that have been made, like growth in female director roles and female series creators, while also urging them to take a look at places where growth was not seen, like films and series with Black and Latin/Hispanic stories at the forefront.”

The release of the report follows the launch of the Luminate Film & TV brand that was announced last October. In addition to providing Hollywood with unrivaled DEI and sustainability data, Luminate Film & TV maintains a dataset of more than 1.5 million creative personnel - including actors, influencers, producers, executives, directors, and below-the-line talent - along with production status updates throughout the industry.

The report’s Executive Summary highlights the following key trends:

• Since our last publishing of this report in late 2021, the latest data shows that one of the biggest trends pertaining to diversity and representation on screen is the creation of stories that reflect intersectionality. The idea that each individual is defined by multiple identities across race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, etc., is a reality that seems to be increasingly taken into consideration by Hollywood’s content creators, allowing films and series to better explore and reflect the nuances of the human experience.
• The other clear trend that has emerged is the proliferation of non-English language content availability in the United States. The growth of available “primetime” content in languages like Spanish, Korean, Arabic, and Japanese has meant a marked increase in the representation of talent from those backgrounds and has provided multilingual audiences with relevant content. However, this doesn’t fix the problem of lack of diverse domestic casting and potentially risks segregation of talent from various racial/ethnic backgrounds to non-English-language content.
o Streaming platforms are the core of what’s driving the foreign-language content. Netflix is having an outsized impact on this representation, driven largely by its ability to distribute foreign language films in the United States as well - constituting anywhere from 17-28% of all series regular roles for Latin/Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern/North African talent. Both Amazon and Disney+ have also premiered foreign language content in the past two years, several of which have 6+ series regular roles played by actors from the respective racial/ethnic groups (Asian, Latin/Hispanic, etc).

Other key takeaways include:

• Gender Representation
o Gender diversity on screen has seen mixed success at parity over the past two years. From 2021 to 2022, the percentage of main title film roles played by women increased from 41% to 42.7% of the total roles that existed, while the percentage of series regulars played by women has decreased from 46.3% to 45.7%.

o While LGBTQ+ representation on film is growing, it still remains very low. The number of main title roles in film increased from 3.4% in 2021 to 3.9% of all main title roles in 2022. However, when you look at the percentage of movies that have a main title LGBTQ+ actor, it decreased from 18.3% in 2021 to 17% in 2022. Furthermore, the number of films where the actual stories depicted were about LGBTQ+ characters decreased as well - down from 6.1% in 2021 to 4.5% in 2022.
• Black
o Black representation is still seeing the benefits of studio commitments made in 2020 to fund more projects with Black talent. Both in front of and behind the camera, the film industry made strides in 2022. The number of main title roles held by Black actors increased by over 20% in 2022, resulting in 17.5% of total main title roles being held by Black actors. The number of films with at least one Black main title actor increased even more, up 30.1%.

But what is perhaps the most interesting trend we saw when analyzing the films released across these two years, is that the absolute number of movies with Black stories at the forefront decreased by 16.7%, meaning that there were only 35 movies with Black stories (5.3% of overall movies released in 2022). This is potentially a double-edged sword; while on the one hand it is a good sign that there are more opportunities for Black talent in film and increasingly in films that aren’t being type-cast specifically around Black narratives, it is disheartening to see fewer films depicting Black narratives.
• Latin/Hispanic
o Despite being one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population, Hispanic representation has seen decreases across the board: on screen, behind the camera, in film and in series. And over the past two years, over 31.6% of all roles held by Hispanic series regulars were in exclusively Spanish language content - meaning there is even less opportunity for Hispanic consumers to see themselves in English language content.
In film, main title roles held by Hispanic talent decreased to 7.7% (down from 8.7% in 2021) and director roles held by Hispanic talent decreased to 4.6% (down 6.8% in 2021). None of these are even close to reaching the rate of the U.S. population that identifies as Hispanic or Latino (18.9% in the latest 2021 population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau). The number of movies that actually center Latino narratives is even lower, with 6 films in 2022 or only 0.9% of all movies released that year.
• Asian
o Asian representation in film and series has been able to keep pace with the overall growth in roles and production in the industry, and in some places make meaningful strides in representation. And like the trend seen with Hispanic talent, the growth in Asian representation in series is being heavily propped up by Netflix’s investment in in-language content, largely Korean. The total number of Asian main title cast and directors in film increased in 2022 (18.5% and 13.5% respectively). This meant that Asian talent represented 7.7% of all main title cast roles and 5.9% of directors roles. And certainly when it comes to critical success of these films, the 2022 release of Everything, Everywhere, All at Once set the bar. Despite this one very visible film’s ability to tell a multidimensional story (both meta physically and emotionally) about an Asian-American family, there is still plenty of progress to be made in representing Asian stories in film. Only 1.8% of all movies released in 2022 centered on Asian stories.
• Indigenous
o Indigenous representation remains at remarkably low level across both film and series. In film, representation became marginally better with 1.7% of main title cast identifying as Indigenous (up from 1.5% the year before). Behind the camera no one could argue the opportunities are almost non-existent for Indigenous talent: there were only 3 Indigenous film directors in 2021 and only 4 in 2022. And in terms of getting Indigenous talent and stories in front of audiences, in 2022 only 8% of films had at least one Indigenous main title cast member and only 3 films actually centered an Ingenious story in a way that wasn’t exploitative or tokenized. This leaves Indigenous movie fans with an embarrassingly low number of opportunities to see themselves on screen.
Representation in series wasn’t much better. Only 2.3% of series regulars in 2022 identified as Indigenous (up from 2% in 2021), and there were 10 Indigenous series creators in 2022 (representing 2.2% of all series creators). There were also a larger number of series that featured at least one Indigenous series regular, a total of 58 in 2022 or 11.9% of all seasons that premiered that year. Unfortunately, only 3 of those series actually centered an Indigenous narrative.
• Middle Eastern and North African
o Representation of Middle Eastern and North African talent in film and series remains minimal. Of films that were released in 2022, only 1.8% of all main title cast roles were held by Middle Eastern or North African actors (vs 1.6% in 2021), and only 1.7% of all film directors that year were of that background (down from 1.9% in 2021). What’s worse, only one film was released across all of 2021 and 2022 that centered a Middle Eastern or North African narrative.
• Disability
o Visibility for the Disabled community is by far and away the worst out of all the groups we analyzed. In part, this is because disability is not something that is always visible or that film and series talent openly discuss or identify with. So while our data set is reliant on talent publicly identifying as part of a given community, the numbers are still tragically low. For example, there were only 8 main title cast roles over the past two years for people who identify as having a disability. It’s hard to make a comment about progress one way or the other with a number that small, but it did decrease from 5 roles in 2021 to 3 in 2022. This meant that only 0.5% of films in the past two years had a main title cast member with a disability.

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