Hollywood, diverse audiences

Hollywood Forfeits $30 Billion A Year By Not Engaging Diverse Audiences

By not providing content for Black audiences specifically, Hollywood loses a reported $10 billion annually.

Over the last four years, McKinsey & Company has produced three separate reports indicating that Hollywood has effectively lost $30 billion annually by not engaging in diversified business solutions. The failure of Hollywood to engage Black, Latinx, and Asian-American/Pacific Islander communities through various means has respectively cost the film industry $10 billion, $12-$18 billion, and $2-$4.4 billion, respectively. 

As The Hollywood Reporter reports, there is a significant disparity in the Asian-American/Pacific Islander representation in Hollywood. The Asian portion of the designation received the bulk of the representation. At the same time, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders were left to be represented by five men, most notably Jason Momoa and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. 

“As our research and analysis have demonstrated, executives don’t need to act out of altruism,” McKinsey & Company write in its report. “The reward for getting it right could create real impact for the industry—and the prize will only grow. Progress may not be easy, but when the enhanced richness of storytelling is accompanied by a multi-billion-dollar opportunity, the business case is clear.”

In 2021, McKinsey’s report on the lack of Black representation indicated sparse representation in off-camera roles. A Black executive who spoke to McKinsey indicated that the lack of diversity carried over to the production of projects as well. “Many former studio execs get production deals as independent producers affiliated with the studio,” they said, “so whatever inequity is prevalent in the studios will carry over to the mix of producers.”

A Black writer described the issue of finding an agent, particularly one who related to Black people, telling McKinsey, “Even though I was staff writing on a popular, well-received show, it was still tough to find an agent. Your average agent is a 50-year-old white guy…who never had to stretch to see [himself] in other people or spaces. So [such agents will] have a harder time representing people they don’t personally relate to.”

In March, a similar devaluing of Latinx representation both in front of and behind the camera was evaluated by McKinsey. “There is no shortage of actors,” a Latinx producer told the company. “Almost a surplus of writers. The broken part is the business side: they don’t know how to support or market content made by Latinos.” 

Additionally, the writers of the report directly tied the roles of Black and Latinx off-screen talent together; both groups are inevitably tasked with providing members of their ethnic groups with jobs.

“As with Black representation in film and television, Latinos who rise to prominence in the industry play an outsize role in providing opportunities to other Latino talent: the likelihood of a Latino producer, writer, or lead signing on to a project is an average of 15-fold higher if the director or showrunner is Latino,” the authors wrote. “Given that only 5 percent of films have Latino directors and 1 to 5 percent of TV and streaming shows have Latino showrunners, Latinos’ ceiling of opportunity is low.”

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