STARZ in partnership with UCLA’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers conducted a nationwide consumer survey examining consumer perceptions and demands for diverse, authentic and inclusive media representation which will be discussed at the company’s second #TakeTheLead “Transparency Talk” on Tuesday, May 18 at 11am PT / 2pm ET. Among the top findings from the “Give The People What They Want: US Audiences and Their Appetite for Multicultural Media Content” study, results indicate that diversity on screen and behind the camera are some of the top drivers of how audiences choose content.
The respondents, adults 18-54, said that having female and diverse representation behind the camera was important. In response to questions whether they felt facets important to their identity were well represented in current TV and media, the results show that women felt notably less represented compared to men, and racial minorities still feel representation is lacking, which demonstrates a need to continue improving representation on and off screen.
“For years, STARZ has been focused on delivering premium content that amplifies narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences and the results of this study confirm we are delivering exactly what consumers are looking for across the TV and media landscape,” said Jeffrey Hirsch, STARZ President and CEO. “We will remain deeply committed to our existing mandate and will continue to improve our industry leading representation on screen, behind the camera and throughout our organization.”
“At the Center for Scholars & Storytellers, we recognize that true change happens when all stakeholders work together,” said Yalda T. Uhls, Founder of the Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA. “That's why we are thrilled to have an industry partner dedicated to helping us further bolster the business case for equity and inclusion.”
The “Transparency Talk,” hosted in partnership with the ACLU of Southern California, will examine the research findings to date that include:
Audiences care about who is in front of and behind the camera
- Diversity behind the camera is important to 60.4% of respondents.
- Having women behind the camera is important to 49.1% of respondents.
- Cast diversity and creator diversity are two of the top drivers of how audiences choose content.
Racial/ethnic minorities still feel authentic representation is lacking
- Less than half (35.7%) of racial/ethnic minority respondents felt well represented in current media.
Women feel notably less represented compared to men
- Only 38.5% of women reported that their identity is well represented in current media content, compared to 59.7% men.
Audiences care more about what they see rather than how much they see
- The majority of respondents (63.7%) reported wanting better quality content that is representative of their identities over the quantity of content.
Audiences believe that diversity on screen increases empathy towards others
- 56.9% of respondents said that seeing people from different groups/backgrounds than their own represented in TV/media makes them feel more empathy toward others.
Source: Give the People What They Want: U.S. Audiences and Their Appetite for Multicultural Media Content, Center For Scholars & Storytellers
Moderated by Melissa Goodman, Director of Advocacy/Legal Director for The ACLU of Southern California, the Transparency Talk features panelists Yalda T. Uhls and Alison Hoffman, President of Domestic Networks for STARZ, who will be joined by the cast of STARZ’s “Run the World” including Amber Stevens West, Andrea Bordeaux, Bresha Webb and Corbin Reid. The cast will discuss how the series, which exemplifies STARZ’s #TakeTheLead commitment, delivers on consumer demand for diverse and authentic content.
Set in Harlem, “Run the World” follows a group of smart, funny, and vibrant thirty-something Black women – fiercely loyal best friends – who live, work and play in Harlem. As they strive for world domination, they each navigate career highs and lows, hookups and heartbreaks that cause them to re-evaluate who they are and where they are going. At its core, it’s an authentic and unapologetic show about enviable friendship and not only surviving – but thriving together.
STARZ recently launched its #TakeTheLead initiative, the company’s comprehensive effort to deepen its existing commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences. The network commissioned an inclusion study in partnership with The Center for Scholars & Storytellers, UCLA with results confirming STARZ is “Taking the Lead” with its diverse representation on screen, off screen and throughout the company. The study revealed that STARZ leads the industry with 63.2% series leads who are people of color, 54.6% female showrunners and a 75% female executive team.
In an effort to inspire and engage others across the industry to #TakeTheLead, STARZ is hosting a series of monthly “Transparency Talks” that brings relevant discussions to the forefront with organizations and members of key organizations including the ACLU of Southern California, Producers Guild of America, Writers Guild of America (WGA), California Film Commission, The LatinX House and more.
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