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September 18, 2019

Diversity initiatives have become their own cottage industry in the entertainment industry.  But how much do we really know about what has been working and why?  This report considers some of the more significant past and present diversity initiatives in the industry in order to zero in on the essential practices that seem to differentiate the successful programs from those which are less successful.  Toward this end, we interviewed nearly two dozen industry leaders for this report who currently work on the frontline of efforts to make Hollywood a more diverse and inclusive creative space.  Their insights give rise to a M.E.A.N.S. model of essential practices already employed in isolated pockets of Hollywood that can be transferred throughout the entire industry.

Five key strategies comprise the M.E.A.N.S. model:  MODERNIZE your worldview to reflect changing U.S. demographics; EXPAND the net in routine talent searches; AMPLIFY the voices of women, especially women of color, within organizations; NORMALIZE compensation practices to reduce barriers to entry for marginalized groups; and STRUCTURE incentives for decision makers to prioritize diversity and inclusion.  Action items associated with each essential practice are outlined in this report.

Despite audience yearnings for change, the history of diversity efforts in Hollywood suggests that the industry’s diversity problem will not simply correct itself.  The path forward must be paved with intentions — by industry decision makers who actively embrace the means necessary for achieving the end of a more inclusive creative space.

M.E.A.N.S. Essential Practices

  1. MODERNIZE your worldview to reflect changing U.S. demographics
  2. EXPAND the net in routine talent searches
  3. AMPLIFY the voices of women, especially women of color, within organizations
  4. NORMALIZE compensation practices to reduce barriers to entry for marginalized groups
  5. STRUCTURE incentives for decision makers to prioritize diversity and inclusion.

DOWNLOAD “By All M.E.A.N.S. Necessary: Essential Practices for Transforming Hollywood Diversity and Inclusion” HERE.

For any media inquiries, please contact Jessica Wolf at jwolf@stratcomm.ucla.edu

For donor/sponsor inquiries, please contact Peter Evans at pevans@support.ucla.edu

To download our annual Hollywood Diversity Report series, click HERE.

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles is known for many things, such as warm weather, beautiful beaches, heavy traffic, busy airport, Hollywood, the entertainment business, and ethnic and cultural diversity. It is also a place that houses so much rich history. History of people and communities making meaning and home in L.A. for so many years. South Los Angeles in particular is an area that has been overlooked, yet has stories to tell. These stories have long been silenced, ignored, or misrepresented.

More recently, gentrification, brought hugely by the Crenshaw/LAX Metro rail line is contributing to the push out of long-time residents and businesses. It’s changing the area at the heart of Black Los Angeles, its population, and its culture to where much of the history of the community is at risk of being erased. As a response to this neglect by the city, local community members, leaders, activists, academics, planners, and artists have come together to create Destination Crenshaw. Among the team of experts who are excited to see this project succeed are UCLA’s Dean of Social Sciences, Darnell Hunt and Professor Marcus Hunter, Chair of the Department of African American Studies. Professor Hunter conducted a research project on Black L.A. that has contributed to the creation of Destination Crenshaw.

Destination Crenshaw is an art project that will be an experience, free for the public to enjoy. It will follow the LAX Metro rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard between 48th and 60th streets. It will be a 1.3-mile open-air museum that will capture themes such as Afro-futurism in South L.A. and community resiliency as well as recognize the unique history of African Americans in the area. It is a hope that this project can help to inform outsiders that there is much to be loved and appreciated in South L.A. as well as reignite community pride for Angelenos about the place they call home.

To learn more, read the Los Angeles Times article HERE.

To read an earlier post about the UCLA research that contributed to Destination Crenshaw, click HERE.

The Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 is the fifth in a series of annual reports that examines the relationship between diversity and the bottom line in the Hollywood entertainment industry. It considers the top 200 theatrical film releases in 2016 and 1,251 broadcast, cable and digital platform television shows from the 2015-16 season in order to document the degree to which women and people of color are present in front of and behind the camera. It discusses any patterns between these findings and box office receipts and audience ratings.

Consistent with the findings of earlier reports in this series, new evidence from 2015-16 suggests that America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content.

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts and the highest median return on investment, while films with the most racially and ethnically homogenous casts were the poorest performers

  • Minorities accounted for the majority of ticket sales for five of the top 10 films in 2016 (ranked by global box office)

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority were released, on average, in the most international markets in 2016
  • Films with Black and Latino leads and majority-minority casts were released, on average, in the fewest international markets in 2016
  • Median 18-49 viewer ratings (as well as median household ratings among Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans) peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows featuring casts that were greater than 20 percent minority

  • For White households, ratings peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows with casts greater than 40 percent minority
  • Social media engagement during the 2015-16 season peaked for broadcast scripted shows with casts that reflected the diversity of America
  • Median Black household ratings peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were majority minority in 2015-16

  • For viewers 18-49, White, Latino, and Asian households, median ratings peaked in the cable scripted arena for shows with casts that were from 31 to 40 percent minority in 2015-16
  • Social media engagement peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were at least 31 percent minority in 2015-16
  • The majority of the top 10 broadcast scripted shows among viewers 18-49 and Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

  • The lion’s share of the top 10 cable scripted shows among Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households and viewers 18-49, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

Previous releases in the Hollywood Diversity Report series present evidence supporting the idea that diversity sells when it comes to industry-produced films and television shows. People of color constituted nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population in 2016, and their share is growing by nearly half a percent each year. Increasingly diverse audiences, the evidence shows, prefer film and television content populated with characters to whom they can relate and whose stories drive the narrative. Europe accounted for only about 7 percent of the world’s population[1] and 17 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP)[2] in 2016, which underscores the reality that today’s (and tomorrow’s) global market looks much more like the diversity of America than the White audiences that traditionally drove Hollywood’s greenlighting practices. In short, the previous reports in this series dispel a stubborn Hollywood myth that in order to reach the widest audiences possible, films and television shows must center White characters in their narratives and relegate racial and ethnic others to, at best, supporting roles.

This report adds to the growing body of evidence that diversity is essential for Hollywood’s bottom line. Global box office and television ratings, on average, are highest for films and television shows with relatively diverse casts. Indeed, a consideration of top 10 films and television shows underscores how important diverse audiences have become as drivers of box office and ratings, and that these highly engaged audiences prefer diverse content. But the report’s findings also reveal missed opportunities. For example, we see that Hollywood continues to produce a plurality of films and television shows with casts that are 10 percent minority or less, despite the fact that these projects are collectively among the poorest performers. It also appears as if the industry undersells the relatively small number of films with diverse leads and casts in a global market that is primed to connect with them.

 

This post contains excerpts from the Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 that was released on February 27, 2018.  To read the latest report, download it HERE.

To read the previous four annual reports, click HERE.

This research is led by Dr. Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA.

If you are interested in learning more about the Hollywood Diversity Report research, please contact the Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, at acramon@ss.ucla.edu.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the report or donating to this research, please contact the Executive Director of Development for the Division of Social Sciences, Julie Strumwasser at jstrumwasser@support.ucla.edu.

[1] See: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/The_EU_in_the_world_-_population

[2] See: http://www.economywatch.com/economic-statistics/economic-indicators/GDP_Share_of_World_Total_PPP/