Hollywood’s Diversity Struggles Cost It $10 Billion Annually
By Chika Dunu
- Lack of diversity in industry costs Hollywood $10B
- 87% of TV executives and 92% of film executives are Caucasian
The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has concluded the “culture” must be represented in Hollywood to keep the money coming in. In a detailed report the company found that the $148 billion film and TV industry loses $10 billion, or 7% every year by undervaluing Black films, filmmakers and executives. The study spanned from 2015 to 2019, and found Hollywood’s inequity is pervasive - from production companies, networks, distributors, talent agencies.
Why This Matters: Ahead of the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2017, Insecure creator and star Issa Rae made it clear who she would be supporting at the show. “I’m rooting for everybody Black, I am” Rae said. This was a rallying cry that reverberated among the Black community. Yet a sentiment that isn't truly representative or accepted by Hollywood.
"Fewer Black-led stories get told, and when they are, these projects have been consistently underfunded and undervalued, despite often earning higher relative returns than other properties," according to the study.
McKinsey cited financial and social barriers, including racial bias that shuts out Black talent. The study found that 92% of film executives are white and 87% are in television; agents and executives at the top three talent agencies are approximately 90% white. Aside from revenue, Black representation can dismantle derogatory racial stereotypes in storytelling.
"When the onscreen and offscreen representation of Black talent matches the share of Black Americans and when the industry succeeds in dismantling the ubiquitous workplace barriers preventing Black creators from telling a range of stories, viewers of all races will gain access to the many different products of Black creative expression,” according to the report.
What’s Next: McKinsey recommends: ensuring diverse representation both on and off-camera, increasing transparency in hiring and diversity reports, seeking and financially supporting Black stories and creating an independent organization dedicated to improving diversity in Hollywood. "Ultimately, the reshaping of the film and TV ecosystem will play a role in reshaping ideas on race—and the advancement of racial equity—in America and beyond."
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