A new report from Starz in partnership with the Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA reveals that diversity on screen and behind the camera are important drivers of how international audiences choose content.
The report, published Thursday and titled “International Audiences Want to See More Diverse Representation On and Off Screen,” surveyed consumers aged 18-90 from 11 countries outside the U.S. regarding their perceptions and demands for diverse, authentic and inclusive media representation.
It revealed that women felt notably less represented compared to men in current media content, and the majority felt they were not accurately represented. Only 35% of women felt that their identity is well represented, compared to 41% of men. Those percentages are lower than a similar Starz survey in the U.S. conducted last May, which found 38.5% women and 59.7% men felt they were accurately represented.
The new survey also found that international audiences care about who is in front of and behind the camera, with 52% feeling it was important that women were represented behind the camera, and 57.4% saying it was important that people behind the scenes are from diverse backgrounds.
Overall, more than 75% of international audiences say they want to see multicultural content on screens, a number that rose in certain countries including Mexico (88.5%), India (86.1%) and Colombia (84.9%). A total of 64.8% of respondents also said that seeing people from different groups/backgrounds than their own represented in TV/media makes them feel more empathy toward others. The latter number is up from the 56.9% in the U.S. survey last year.
“This report provides firm data that the international consumer cares as much and sometimes more than United States’ audiences about what they see on screen and who is behind the screen,” said Yalda T. Uhls, founder of the Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA.
The report (read it in full here) was first highlighted Wednesday during Starz’s latest #TakeTheLead “Transparency Talk.” The panel was moderated by Sierra Leone Rising co-founder Princess Sarah Culberson and featured a discussion with Superna Kalle, President of International Networks for Starz; Mira Sorvino; Abbe Land, executive director of the L.A. County Women and Girls Initiative; Emiliana Guereca, founder and executive director of Women’s March Foundation; and Michelle Milford Morse, VP of the UN Foundation for Girls and Women Strategy.
“Starz is committed to delivering authentic stories that amplify diverse voices to our audience and this survey from the Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA confirms that our strategy correlates with international consumer demand,” Kalle said. “We look forward to continuing to provide our strong offering of content to an international audience that values the voices of women and authenticity behind the camera as much as we do.”