Study: Demand for Diverse Scripted TV Content Surpasses Non-Diverse

Since 2017, diverse debuts — scripted TV titles in which at least 40% of the cast is categorized as diverse — have grown to surpass non-diverse titles, according to a new joint study from Creative Artists Agency and Parrot Analytics.

Meanwhile, between 2017 and 2019, the demand for diverse debuts among Parrot Analytics Top 100 most in-demand scripted debuts in the United States doubled, surpassing non-diverse titles for the first time, according to the study.

“This study solidifies what we’ve known for some time — diversity wins onscreen,” Kevin Huvane, co-chairman of CAA, said in a statement. “CAA will continue leading the industry in prioritizing diversity in our client work, while also encouraging storytellers and business partners to tell stories onscreen that authentically represent the audiences who are watching.”

“We are proud to partner with CAA to help move the industry toward a more equitable future for all talent,” Wared Seger, CEO and co-founder of Parrot Analytics, said in a statement. “We remain committed to our long-term objective to showcase the value of diversity and inclusion as we continue to unlock the magic of content for our partners around the globe.”

The study further demonstrated that diverse tentpoles, defined as the top 25 most in-demand U.S. scripted debuts in any given year, have taken the lead in demand over non-diverse tentpoles.

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Still, not all racial and ethnic groups are equally well represented in scripted debuts, according to the study. Despite being one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States, Hispanics and Latinos were significantly underrepresented. While 18% of the U.S. population is Hispanic or Latino (U.S. Census 2019), the demo represented only 5% of actors in scripted debuts for the 2017-2019 period. Conversely, the study found that whites were overrepresented with 60% of the population per the census and 65% of talent.

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“Successful shows today are at least as diverse as the U.S. population,” said Parrot Analytics insights analyst Dr. Nicole Zamanzadeh.

Additional findings include:

  • U.S. demand for “Euphoria” was 27 times greater than the average U.S. title as of October 2020, according to the study.
  • Audience demand for shows with diverse casts (+112.5%) has grown faster than the industry’s supply of shows with diverse casts (+42%).
  • Since 2017, the demand for highly diverse debuts (above 60% cast diversity) has more than tripled (+211%), outperforming both non-diverse debuts (below 40% cast diversity) and moderately diverse debuts (greater than 40% but less than 60% cast diversity).
  • In the study, only diverse broadcast debuts consistently outperformed and were more in-demand than non-diverse debuts between 2017 and 2019.
  • The portion of broadcast debuts’ diverse series regular talent has steadily remained above 40%, the highest of any platform.
  • Since 2017, cable’s diverse debuts have more than doubled in demand.
  • While demand for diverse debuts has doubled, cable’s talent diversity in its debut’s series regular casts has slightly declined.
  • In 2019, for the first time, streamers’ diverse debuts were more in-demand than their non-diverse debuts.
  • Streamers have steadily increased their percentage of talent diversity in debut series regular casts.
  • Streamers’ increasing number of highly diverse debuts (more than 60% diverse cast) corresponds with a greater share of streaming titles in the top 100 debuts. Streamers released 2.5 times more highly diverse debuts in 2019 than 2017.

WarnerMedia Hires First Diversity/Inclusion Officer

WarnerMedia June 12 announced the hiring of Christy Haubegger as the media company’s first chief enterprise inclusion officer.

Haubegger, who spent 14 years at Creative Artists Agency, reports directly to CEO John Stankey and works with senior management to drive business growth through strategic investment in diverse audiences and to ensure the organization’s workforce is representative of the markets it serves.

Christy Haubegger

“As we transform our businesses and our culture, we see a unique opportunity to generate outsize growth by delivering world-class content that engages underserved audiences,” Stankey said in a statement. “To realize that opportunity we must make strategic investments, build a more representative workforce, and create a truly inclusive culture.”

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Created with AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which includes Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, WarnerMedia says it want to recognize diversity and inclusion as business imperatives.

The company claims to use its best efforts to ensure diverse actors and crew members are considered for film, television and other projects, and to work with directors and producers who also seek to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the media and entertainment industry.

At CAA, Haubegger spearheaded representation of women and people of color, and helped transformed the diversity of the workforce.

The talent agency has long focused on innovation through diversity and implemented strategies to create sustainable change within the agency and beyond.

Under Haubegger’s leadership, CAA launched “CAA Amplify,” an invitation-only annual event convening high-level multicultural artists and leaders, as well as the industry’s first searchable database of television writers of color.

During her tenure, the agency grew its diverse roster more than 1400% and according to USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the agency now represents the largest share of female directors and African- American directors in the motion picture business.

“Christy Haubegger is one of a kind. She is a talented and visionary leader who made a transformational impact on the agency throughout her tenure,” said CAA president Richard Lovett. “She influenced our business and culture, and established CAA as a leader in the promotion of inclusion, creating initiatives that support and advance underrepresented voices. We remain steadfast in our commitment to moving our industry forward and are thrilled to continue working collaboratively with Christy in her new role.”