Samba TV: Hispanic, Asian Markets Remain Underrepresented Across Top TV, Streaming Shows in 2023

An analysis of representation across top TV shows of 2023, Samba TV found a “dramatic” underrepresentation of some demographics, mainly Hispanic and Asian audiences, as well as an ad market that is also underserving these viewers, according to the measurement firm’s State of Diversity on TV report.

The analysis encompassed programs released on streaming and traditional linear television, based on the top 25 highest-reaching direct-to-streaming and top 25 highest-reaching linear TV premiere episodes released between January and May. Insights into representation were sourced from the cast composition of top-billed actors and actresses throughout each program.

“The data shows that greater on-screen representation will tend to increase viewership overall and among diverse populations,” Samba TV CEO Ashwin Navin said in a statement. “Audiences are deeply connected to what they watch on TV. Although we live in the golden age of content, diversity on-screen still does not adequately represent the population in all its identities.”

The report found that more than half people say that they are more likely to watch TV where they see themselves represented.

Within the top 50 TV shows, 42% of top-billed actors were Hispanic, Black, Asian, or another ethnicity such as mixed, while 58% were white.

The report’s findings indicated a positive correlation of 43% among households with black, Hispanic, Asian, mixed race, or another non-white ethnicity watching programs with higher percentages of non-white stars, indicating that cast diversity is a selling point among diverse households.

Representation is a deciding factor when audiences choose what to watch on TV. Black households saw the strongest correlation with watching shows with black leads, with a positive correlation of 67% among black households watching programs with a higher percentage of black leads.

Despite making up almost 20% of the U.S., Hispanic actors are underrepresented on TV, according to Samba. Across both linear and streaming, only 10% of lead actors were Hispanic, despite Hispanic people comprising 18% of the U.S. census.

In fact, none of the top 50 shows featured a majority Hispanic cast, compared to multiple shows featuring majority white, black and Asian leads. Less than half of the top 50 programs featured Hispanic or Asian leads.

With 80% of Hispanic people saying diverse content is important when choosing what to watch, content creators and advertisers would benefit from diversifying casts to include Hispanic representation.

Meanwhile, more than 25% of the lead actors among the top linear shows was black, and that representation paid off for those shows from a viewership standpoint. Multiple shows with a majority black leading cast over-indexed in the triple digits based on Black household viewership, including “BMF,” “Snowfall” and “Power Book II: Ghost”.

The vast majority (90%) of black audiences say that having diverse representation is important to them when choosing what content to watch.

Samba found that streamers, led by Netflix are leaning into diverse representation in their content. Notably, the most diverse streaming shows were all Netflix originals.

Maverick Partners With Nonprofit Black Girl Film School

Maverick Entertainment has partnered with the nonprofit Black Girl Film School to empower the next generation of filmmakers and to focus on supporting black storytelling and attracting more girls aged 13-17 to the filmmaking industry.

Maverick will support the school’s course offerings with a year long partnership providing industry experts for an “Ask the Expert” series, a back-to-school scholarship award, and a short film contest where students can win a monetary award and prize package and pitch their short film scripts to Maverick’s executive team.   

Black Girl Film School offers online courses for girls ages 13-17 years old to learn film production from behind the camera. The school designs education experiences that are aligned with national and state learning standards.

Applications to the school close April 5 at 11:59 p.m. Students will be notified of admission on May 3.

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Warner Bros. Discovery Names Asif Sadiq Chief Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

Warner Bros. Discovery has appointed Asif Sadiq to the position of chief global diversity, equity and inclusion officer. Sadiq will lead the media company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy and global team, expanding on initiatives from both legacy Discovery and legacy WarnerMedia.

Sadiq reports to CEO David Zaslav and Adria Alpert Romm, chief people and culture officer.

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Sadiq most recently served as the head of diversity, equity and inclusion, international for WarnerMedia, and was a key architect of many of the company’s internal and content-focused initiatives on which WBD plans to build. Earlier, Sadiq held senior diversity positions at adidas, The Telegraph Media Group, EY Financial Services and the City of London Police.

In his role, Sadiq will chair WBD’s new business diversity council, a senior advisory board comprised of global leaders from the company’s sports, games, technology, revenue, and corporate groups. The council will assist in developing and instituting enterprise-wide diversity programs for employees across businesses.

“We want our employees to be able to thrive as their authentic selves, while using the power of storytelling to not only entertain audiences around the world, but also open minds and inspire action,” Zaslav said in a statement. “And I can think of no better leader than Asif to ensure that we champion the most thoughtful and impactful diversity, equity and inclusion program.”

In addition, WBD is establishing a creative diversity council, which includes Channing Dungey, chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group; Pamela Abdy, chairperson and CEO of Warner Bros. Film Group; Mike DeLuca, chairperson and CEO of Warner Bros. Film Group; Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO, HBO and HBO Max Content; and Kathleen Finch, chairman and chief content officer for U.S. Networks Group. Together these senior creative leaders will help ensure that DE&I is woven into the development, production and distribution process.

Sadiq is a member of the board of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Middlesex University, WORK180 and Hedley May. In addition, he is a chartered companion of the Chartered Management Institute and an executive member of World 50. Sadiq has been recognized as one of the most influential global D&I Leaders by Hive Learning and listed on People Management’s D&I Power List. He has won numerous awards and has been honored for his work with an MBE by the Queen.

OTT.X to Host Diversity Summit in Los Angeles June 9

OTT.X has announced the OTT.X Diversity Summit scheduled for June 9 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The summit is designed to bolster diverse OTT streaming organizations with access to information, connections and opportunities.

The full day conference will feature presentations, panels and breakout sessions to support content creation, increased distribution, awareness and viewership for OTT businesses that are owned and run by minorities and those in underrepresented groups.  

Topics include:

  • AVOD, FAST and subscription matching the right model with the right content and audiences;
  • gaining meaningful distribution for indie content creators;
  • making money with ad-supported video;
  • producing content for underrepresented audiences; and
  • reaching a diverse audience.

“The OTT.X Diversity Summit brings the OTT ecosystem together across the breadth of human experience to advance their businesses and amplify their voices,” OTT.X CEO and president Mark Fisher said in a statement.  

The summit is free for OTT.X members and $150 for non-members. 

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Georgia Latino Film Alliance Appoints Julie Ann Crommett Board Chair

The Georgia Latino Film Alliance (GALFA) has appointed Julie Ann Crommett, a former Walt Disney Studios, NBC Universal and Google exec, as its new board chair.

Crommett will work closely with the board of directors to grow the organization into a valuable resource and support system for next-generation Latino filmmakers, students, executives and content creators in Georgia, according to GALFA.

“It is my great honor to welcome Julie Ann Crommett as the newest elected GALFA board chair, “said Jose Marquez, CEO and founder, GALFA, in a statement. “Her unique business experience in the DEI [diversity, inclusion and inclusion] space, her creative insights and ongoing commitment to advocating for systematic change will undoubtedly help our organization scale to greater heights under her strategic guidance.”

“We are so fortunate to have Julie Ann join us in our mission towards achieving new benchmarks in the film and entertainment industry,” Yvette Moise, president and co-founder of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Festival, said in a statement. “Together we will work towards making this place a whole new world.”

The Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Film Festival conducts the Georgia Latino Film Festival in the state of Georgia, which features Latino-directed, -produced and -acted films among other national and international entries. The mission of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance is to build awareness of independent films and film as an art form, provide educational opportunities for students and Georgia Latino filmmakers, and create opportunities for the Georgia communities to experience high-quality Latino films.

Crommett has been working in the diversity, equity and inclusion space for more than a decade in the film, media, entertainment and tech industries.

“I am humbled to join the GALFA board and look forward to working with the talented board, partners and members who tirelessly foster Latino development in the film industry,” Crommett said in a statement. “GALFA is moving ahead stronger than ever. I’m excited to join Jose and Yvette and their outstanding team in giving voice to America’s next generation of Latinx Storytellers.”

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Crommett has worked at The Walt Disney Studios and NBC Universal as well as Google. She is currently founder and CEO of Collective Moxie, a consultative agency that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, narrative and community engagement.

While serving as VP of multicultural audience engagement at The Walt Disney Studios, she spearheaded efforts to diversify talent in front of and behind the camera, connect creative projects with communities they touched, and build a more inclusive culture within the studio. She played an integral role in contributing to key film release projects including Disney/Pixar’s Soul and Coco, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon, and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. She also created Disney’s “Launchpad: Shorts Incubator,” a program that provided six directors from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to produce a short film for Disney+. Additionally, and in partnership with Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, she launched and co-chaired Disney’s first-ever Creative Inclusion Council dedicated to increasing inclusion and accountability in Disney’s creative endeavors.

Crommett has been recognized by The Hollywood Reporter’s “35 under 35,” the IMAGEN Foundation’s Influential Latinos in Entertainment list and as an ADCOLOR Innovator. She hosted a TEDx Talk in 2016 covering equity and storytelling and serves on the boards for the Hispanic Federation, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers and Women in Animation.

A Puerto Rican and Cuban American, Crommett was raised in Atlanta and earned her B.A. in English from Harvard University.

OTT.X Promoting Diversity, Equality and Inclusion With Upcoming Webinars, Other Initiatives

The nonprofit industry association OTT.X has created a Call for Change group and has slated two webinars in September as part of an ongoing initiative to promote diversity, equality and inclusion in the OTT industry.

The upcoming webinars are “Inherent Bias in AI/Machine Learning,” presented by Slalom, and “A Look at How Representation Drives Viewership,” presented by Samba.

On Feb. 18, OTT.X hosted an online dialogue about social justice, racism exclusion and allyship within the industry. The objectives of the initial session were to identify the changes the industry can make today and those it can work toward impacting in the future. Participants defined these issues and opportunities:

a) The industry and the consumer will benefit from more diverse participation. Minority-owned businesses, and socially messaged content, can benefit from financing opportunities and distribution exposure.

b) Management ranks and senior leadership positions in the industry seem to be under-representative of the diversity of the population.

c) The industry has a unique opportunity to communicate to, and impact, the general public by the nature of its business.

“OTT.X recognizes that it can effectively do its part and impact and affect change within the OTT community of companies and individuals, such as within our industry’s workforce,” said OTT.X president and CEO Mark Fisher. “We can help by supporting the growth of minority-owned businesses and by holding our community accountable for its commitments regarding diversity, equality and inclusion.”

Industry executives across small and large companies and of diverse ethnicities are currently participating in OTT.X Call for Change.

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In November 2020, OTT.X conducted its first special webinar on inclusion, “A Path Toward Inclusion in the Workplace.”

In March, OTT.X invited its members to an online table reading of Polar Bears, Black Boys and Prairie Fringed Orchids, a play about environmental justice and police violence written by former OTT.X team member Vincent Durham, followed by a Zoom discussion among viewers with Durham.

OTT.X is also coordinating the development of a database of potential conference speakers and panelists from under-represented groups in the OTT ecosystem. OTT.X will utilize this list to ensure that it sets the example of diversity and inclusion with the speaker rosters at its own conferences and events, and will also make this list available to other organizations and conference operators.

Future projects being discussed include assisting minority companies in finding funding, connecting content creators with interested parties to create socially relevant content, working alongside a research partner to create an industry accountability report (examining follow-through related to commitments companies made after the George Floyd murder), and providing public service spots to run on AVOD channels in unsold slots.

Participation in the OTT.X Call for Change is not limited to OTT.X members.  All members of the OTT community are invited to engage. To learn more or get involved, email Fisher at

Amazon Studios Releases Inclusion Policy and Playbook for Original Content Production

Amazon Studios June 16 released a comprehensive inclusion policy that it says extends its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity for its content and productions, as well as guidelines for its collaborators in the creative community.

The recommendations come as Amazon Studios says it continues to seek out stories and storytelling that amplify voices across race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability (including mental health), body size, gender, gender identity, and gender expression for the global Prime Video audience.

“We wanted to move beyond good intentions to creating mechanisms that hold us accountable to a high bar,” Latasha Gillespie, executive head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “This playbook adds additional depth and guidance for our internal teams and external partners to ensure we continue to advance our shared mission of amplifying the best creatives and content around the world.”

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The studio in 2017 got caught up in the #MeToo movement when its boss, Ray Price, was forced to resign following allegations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Price was replaced by Jennifer Salke.

Salke says the studio’s new playbook on diversity and inclusion underscores its commitment to being a “thought and action” leader in the transformation of Hollywood.

“We know how much work there is to be done to improve representation both on camera and behind the scenes, and it starts at home, with us,” Salke said. “With clear directives and a commitment to accountability, these guides provide a path toward a more equitable future, both on- and off-camera.”

Specifically, the playbook outlines production goals for each film or series with a creative team of three or more people in above-the-line roles (directors, writers, producers) should ideally include a minimum 30% women and 30% members of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group. This aspirational goal will increase to 50% by 2024.

Casting actors whose identity (gender, gender identity, nationality, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability) aligns with the character they will be playing.

Aiming to include one character from each of the following categories in speaking roles, with minimum 50% of these to be women: LGBTQIA+, person with a disability, and three regionally underrepresented race/ethnic/cultural groups. A single character can fulfill one or more of these identities.

Seeking at least three bids from vendors or suppliers on productions, one of which must be from a woman-owned business and one from a minority-owned business.

Pay equity across casting, behind the camera staff and crew, and for vendors and suppliers.

Amazon Studios said it shared the playbook with creators, including Gloria Calderón Kellett, creator and executive producer of the upcoming Amazon Original series “With Love.”

“Inclusive hiring is what makes change,” said Kellett. “Opportunity and an eye towards changing things through action is what makes change. Thrilled that Amazon has put together this playbook to start important conversations with their other creatives.”

The studio said it would provide a report template for each production to indicate whether these expectations were met, that would be submitted within one month of the completion of principal photography. This reporting exceeds the minimum standards set by the Academy of Motion Pictures, but ensures Amazon is poised to report on the diversity of their films for Academy Award contention.

The playbook puts in place intentional practices to minimize and disrupt biases, providing specific guidance that will help everyone within and working with Amazon Studios to meet expectations.

It also provides direction on how to make inclusive decisions, while telling authentic stories and hiring the best people for the job; knowledge of where to go for help, including tools to make inclusive decisions; tools to identify criteria for making creative choices, leading to balanced, consistent and informed decisions; and ways to foster curiosity and ask questions to disrupt the status quo about “how things are done.”

Amazon Studios worked with Dr. Stacy Smith and Dr. Katherine Pieper of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, and with Brenda Robinson of the International Documentary Association and Gamechanger Films on the creation of the playbook. The studio also consulted with organizations devoted to advancing the visibility and responsible depictions of underrepresented or marginalized people, including GLAAD, Illuminative, Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

Smith says current outcomes of DEI work within the entertainment industry have been disingenuous, underscoring the systemic barriers to entry that have long plagued Hollywood.

“But now, Amazon Studios has created a comprehensive new blueprint that will change Hollywood by elevating those who have historically lacked access,” she said. “I’m immensely proud of this new policy and I know it will be a gamechanger throughout an industry often resistant to real change.”

Report: Majority of TV Programs Fail to Resonate With Diverse Audiences

A majority of TV shows are not relevant to diverse segments of consumers and are, in fact, mostly inclusive and considerate of white, non-Hispanic viewers, according to a new study, the Cultural Insights Impact Measure from the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM).  The study coincides with television’s annual upfront marketplace.

The report evaluated 146 broadcast, streaming and digital shows and networks across various segments including white non-Hispanic, Hispanic (by acculturation), Black, Asian English, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities.

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The study found that 51% of shows ranked in the bottom quartile among African-Americans and English-speaking Hispanics. Another 44% of shows ranked in the bottom quartile among Asians. In contrast, white non-Hispanics ranked those same shows in the top quartile, showcasing the fact that programming today does not have the cultural insights needed to connect with other segments, according to the study.

Streaming platforms delivered the majority of effective individual shows. Although, major endemic networks, such as Univision, OWN and BET led the way when all content was considered. The highest rated general market network was NBC.

Top shows in the study included:

  • White non-Hispanic: “When Calls the Heart” (Hallmark)
  • African-American: “Sunday Best” (BET) and “Greenleaf” (OWN)
  • Hispanic English: “House of Flowers” (Netflix)
  • Hispanic bilingual: “Mira Quien Baila” (Univision)
  • Hispanic Spanish: “Pequeños Gigantes” (Univision)
  • Asian: “Killing Eve” (Hulu)
  • People with disabilities: “Special” (Netflix)
  • MC&I: “House of Flowers” and “Blood and Water” (Netflix)
  • LGBTQ: “The Fosters” (ABC Family/Hulu)

“We’re shifting the way in which the entire industry approaches inclusivity and understands its impact on business and society,” AIMM co-founder Carlos Santiago said in a statement. “Not only is this the ethical way forward, but it makes great business sense. As network upfronts approach, this analysis provides advertisers with crucial insights needed to maximize the impact of their efforts, while offering networks the opportunity to tailor their content to reach specific viewers and create more valuable advertising space for brands.”

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WarnerMedia Appoints Asif Sadiq SVP, Equity And Inclusion, International

WarnerMedia has named London-based Asif Sadiq to the newly created role of SVP of equity and inclusion, international. The announcement was made by Christy Haubegger, EVP of communications and chief inclusion officer, to whom Sadiq will directly report.

Sadiq will be based in London and joins the Equity and Inclusion leadership in implementing a comprehensive strategy to address all aspects of diversity across the company’s workforce, programs, content, suppliers, and community, working closely with Gerhard Zeiler, head of WarnerMedia International, and his international leadership team.

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“Asif’s proven track record and innovation around equity and inclusion makes him the ideal choice as we continue to build on WarnerMedia’s global strategy towards an equitable and inclusive company,” Haubegger said in a statement. “We know his experience and knowledge will aid us greatly in our efforts to advance business growth through an inclusive workforce and content that reflects the global audience we serve.”

Sadiq has a long career in the diversity and inclusion space with senior executive roles at adidas, The Telegraph Media Group, EY Financial Services and the City of London Police. He has reportedly been named as one of the most influential Global D&I Leaders by Hive Learning and occupies a place on the CIPD’s Top 20 Power List.  He is a winner of numerous awards including the highly commended Head of Diversity Award at the European Diversity Awards and was honored with an MBE in 2017 by the Queen and granted the freedom of the City of London in 2016.

In addition to his accolades, Sadiq is currently a leadership fellow at St George’s House at Windsor Castle, co-author of “Global Diversity Management” and “Diversity Management that Works,” and an Alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) which is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.

Nielsen to Track Content Diversity in Hollywood

Nielsen Feb. 17 announced it is partnering with entertainment metadata tracker Gracenote to record visibility into the gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation of talent appearing in TV programming and the audiences watching it. Dubbed Gracenote Inclusion Analytics, the new software aims to give content creators, owners, distributors and advertisers data around on-screen diversity and representation to enable more inclusive content. Future enhancements will expand product coverage to include theatrical movies as well as behind-the-camera talent including directors, producers, writers and other key roles.

Nielsen said the information will enable distributors to highlight content within their catalogs featuring diverse female leads for Women’s History Month or fuel recommendations connecting audiences of diverse content. A studio could evaluate whether its content meets diversity, equity and inclusion benchmarks — highlighting programs for licensing opportunities. Similarly, a brand could identify and target the most inclusive content to inform its ad investment or product placement decisions.

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“The entertainment industry has a massive challenge ahead — to ensure the talent associated with popular TV programming mirrors today’s increasingly diverse viewing audiences,” Sandra Sims-Williams, SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion at Nielsen, said in a statement. “By democratizing information around representation in content, Gracenote Inclusion Analytics holds the power to push the industry toward better balance and a more equitable future.”

According to a recent Nielsen report, women make up 52% of the U.S. population but comprise only 38% of top recurring cast in popular broadcast, cable and streaming programming. At the same time, people of color account for 40% of the broader population, but are present in only 27% of top TV roles. These data points highlight significant imbalances between representation in content and key audience groups which, by addressing, would serve to accelerate equity in entertainment.

The new industry tracker combines Gracenote’s video program metadata and ethnicity data with Nielsen television ratings and SVOD content ratings. Based on these inputs, the software delivers proprietary metrics assessing the degree to which different identity groups are featured in programming and how evenly this reflects viewing audiences. These include:

  • Share of Screen quantifying an identity group’s (e.g., women, LGBTQ, Black) representation among the top recurring talent
  • Inclusion Opportunity Index comparing share of screen for an identity group (e.g., women) to their representation in population estimates
  • Inclusion Audience Index comparing share of screen for a group to their representation in the program’s viewing audience


“Audiences today actively seek out programs that highlight people who resemble them and experiences that reflect their own,” said Tina Wilson, head of analytics at Nielsen. “Under these circumstances, it’s critical that the entertainment industry create authentic content which resonates with underrepresented groups. Together, Nielsen and Gracenote are uniquely positioned to help the industry seize upon this opportunity by way of new data analytics solutions ensuring meaningful connections between content and audiences.”