Audiences Want More Diverse Movies & TV Shows, Study Says

Courtesy: ABC

One of the jokes that Neil
Patrick Harris landed last Sunday night during the Oscars was when he quipped
that they were all gathered to "honor the best and whitest…. Sorry,
brightest." It's a joke that would have been appropriate during any awards season, but it's painfully on the nose for 2014's #OscarsSoWhite season.

It's no news to anyone that Hollywood is overwhelmingly white
and male, and the general party line has been that the studios are only giving
audiences what they want. Heck, the biggest award of the night went to Birdman, a movie that made fun of
Hollywood's superhero fetish — and even those movies are making moves toward being more inclusive. The target audience is no longer white dudes fresh out of
college; it's just that Hollywood has yet to fully realize it. 

The recent UCLA study "Flipping The Script" is
just one of many that make it clear that audiences are seeking out entertainment
that more accurately reflects our world. Despite the rather disheartening
numbers about the gender and race of studio execs, who's getting the biggest
roles, and more, the study concludes that "new evidence suggests that
increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television
content."

Movies that feature
"relatively diverse casts" make more money on a global scale, both at
the box office and for investors. TV shows with more diverse casts and writers
have higher ratings among viewers from 18 to 49. According to the study, "What’s
new is that business as usual in the Hollywood industry may soon be unsustainable...
Diversity sells."

It doesn't even have to be a blatant effort, like when women
urged each other to buy tickets to see Bridesmaids
opening weekend. Every time we buy a movie ticket or tune in to our favorite TV
show, we're telling the industry what we want to see. As the study points out,
the industry will have to make a concerted effort from top to bottom to rectify
this problem, from networks to talent agencies. But, as long as money talks,
Hollywood will listen. [Los Angeles Times]

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