Starz has released the results of a nationwide consumer survey, which affirms the demand for diverse, authentic and inclusive representation within the entertainment industry.
The study, titled “Give The People What They Want: US Audiences and Their Appetite for Multicultural Media Content,” was conducted in partnership with UCLA’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers.
Polling adults between the ages of 18 and 54, it found that cast and creator diversity are two of the top drivers of how audiences choose content. 60.4% of respondents said that diversity behind the camera is important, while 49.1% noted the importance of having women behind the camera.
At the same time, respondents felt that authentic representation is still lacking, among both women and racial/ethnic minorities. Just 35.7% of respondents of from racial/ethnic minority groups said they felt well represented in today’s media, and only 38.5% of women said the same, compared to 59.7% of men.
63.7% of respondents said representation in quality content is more important than the overall quantity of content in which they are represented. 56.9%, meanwhile, said that seeing people from different groups or backgrounds than their own represented in the media makes them feel more empathy toward others.
The “Give The People What They Want” study was launched as part of Starz’s #TakeTheLead initiative, by which it aims to deepen its existing commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences. The survey also confirmed that Starz is a leader in the industry in terms of representation, with women occupying 75% of executive roles and 54.6% of showrunner roles, and people of color inhabiting 63.2% of series lead roles.
“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,” added 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 results of Starz and UCLA’s inclusion study will be discussed at the network’s second #TakeTheLead “Transparency Talk” on Tuesday, May 18, on which it partnered with the ACLU of Southern California. Melissa Goodman, the ACLU’s Director of Advocacy/Legal Director, is moderating the conversation. Panelists will include UCLA’s Yalda T. Uhls and Starz’s President of Domestic Networks, Alison Hoffman, as well as cast members from Starz comedy Run the World, including Amber Stevens West, Andrea Bordeaux, Bresha Webb and Corbin Reid.
Starz is currently hosting “Transparency Talks” on a monthly basis, in order to inspire and engage others throughout the world of entertainment to #TakeTheLead on creating change.
To check out a video from Starz highlighting the #TakeTheLead initiative, click above.