A study to be released Monday by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is one of the most exhaustive and damning reports on diversity in the film and television industries.
Researchers examined films released in 2014 by the major film studios, as well as prime-time first-run scripted series that aired from Sept. 1, 2014, to Aug. 31, 2015, from major broadcast, cable and streaming networks. Altogether, the study examined 109 films and 305 series. Research covered speaking characters, writers, directors, show runners and media company executives.
Some of its key findings:
IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
— Female characters fill 28.7 per cent of all speaking roles in film.
— 28.3 per cent of speaking characters in film and scripted series were minorities, 9.6 per cent less than their proportion in the U.S. population.
— 2 per cent of speaking characters were identified as LGBT.
— In scripted series, less than 40 per cent of all speaking characters were girls and women.
— 18 per cent of all films and series were gender balanced; 8 per cent of films were gender balanced.
— Among characters 40 years of age older, 74.3 per cent were men and 25.7 per cent were women.
BEHIND THE CAMERA
— Only 3.4 per cent of film directors were female out of 4,284 directors in film and scripted series.
— 87 per cent of directors were white.
— Among 6,421 writers, 71.1 per cent were male and 28.9 per cent were female.
— 77.4 per cent of show creators in television and digital series were male; 28.9 per cent were female.
— Films and series with a female director had 5.4 per cent more girls or women on screen than those directed by men.
— Roughly 20 per cent of corporate boards, chief executives and executive management teams were women.
MEDIA COMPANY PERFORMANCE
— In an ‘inclusivity index’ test of 10 major media company’s performance of on-screen portrayals and gender equality behind the camera, no film distributor earned a final grade above 30 per cent inclusivity. Fox scored 5 per cent; NBC Universal scored 10 per cent; Sony scored 20 per cent; the Walt Disney Co. scored 5 per cent; Time Warner scored 0 per cent; and Viacom scored 20 per cent.
— The Walt Disney Co. and the CW Network scored best in television, each with a score of 70 per cent inclusivity. Time Warner scored 15 per cent; Fox and CBS scored 20 per cent; NBC Universal and Netflix scored 25 per cent; Viacom scored 50 per cent; and Amazon and Hulu scored 65 per cent.