November 24, 2022
  • November 24, 2022

Hollywood hurts itself by ignoring Latinx audiences: study

By on September 27, 2022 0

Hollywood is leaving money on the table by leaving Latinx characters largely out of mainstream TV shows and movies.

That’s the message from an organization backed by some of the nation’s most prominent Latinx business leaders who have presented research and a campaign to pressure the industry to tackle the stagnant state. of Hispanic representation in front of and behind the camera.

The nonprofit Latino Donor Collaborative released an in-depth study on Tuesday that shows just how little Latinx talent has progressed in TV shows and movies over the past five years.

“We are such a big part of this country and this economy, but unfortunately Latinos are lagging behind in the media,” said Ana Valdez, president and CEO of LDC. Variety. “We need to see our stories and our faces there.”

LDC has worked quietly in Hollywood and the wider business community to promote Latinx advancement on corporate boards, in C-suites, and in elected office at all levels. The nonprofit was funded by donations from Latinx leaders, including LDC chairman and co-founder Sol Trujillo, a former chairman and CEO of telecommunications companies US West and Orange. The focus of the LDC has been to generate research aimed at highlighting economic opportunities for American investors and businesses to more actively woo American-born Latinx consumers. The LDC analysis demonstrates that the economic output of the US-born Latino population would represent the fifth largest economy in the world with a gross domestic output of $2.8 trillion.

In media, LDC has worked behind the scenes to advise senior management on the audience potential that can be found in Latinx characters and stories. But with the extremely slow pace of progress in representation, the LDC decided to go public with a public relations effort dubbed “Let’s Get Loud”.

“We decided it was time for us to raise our voice and start using these numbers with everyone,” Valdez says of the LDC research. “This lack of information that creates a situation where studios are constantly leaving money on the table.”

The “Latinos in the Media” report aims to establish an undeniable business case that Hollywood is hurting its own profit potential with the continued underrepresentation in the media relative to the growing share of Hispanics in the total US population. United. Currently, Latinx communities make up approximately 19% of the United States in 2021. This number is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, given that Hispanics accounted for just over half of the total population growth. from 2010 to 2021, and the overwhelming majority of them were born in the United States and speak only English.

Source: Latino Donor Collaborative: Latinos in Media Report 2022

But on screen, in TV and in movies, Latinx characters are still “virtually invisible” and worse, they are often associated with stereotypical roles of criminals, drug dealers, prostitutes, housekeepers, nannies and housekeepers. The LDC study dives deep to break down the main characters of hundreds of scripted and unscripted TV series. According to the research, only 3.1% of TV series featured a Latinx lead or co-lead character, and of those, only 1.3% were what the report describes as “positive portrayals,” defined as non-stereotypical roles and fully formed characters.

The Latinx representation in the film is only marginally better. In 2019, American Latinos made up 23% of all moviegoers and bought 29% ($2.9 billion) of all box office tickets sold for English-language movies, according to the LDC. Representation in films released up to August this year stood at around 5.2% of main characters and 2.6% of directors. Data from LDC shows that Latinx representation on the big screen has grown since 2018, but at a stubbornly slow pace. And it’s no surprise to anyone in entertainment that the level of Latinx representation among executive decision makers, talent agents, and other key gatekeepers is minimal.

The LDC calls on the industry to respond to the business imperative to recognize the economic power of Latinx consumers. The organization does not intend to call for a boycott against studios or networks. But it has pledged to publish an annual “Latinos in the Media” report to ensure there are clear public benchmarks on Latinx progress in entertainment. The LDC also maintains a growing database of experienced Latinx actors, writers, producers, and industry professionals. This is an effort to support Latinx talent as well as counter claims that producers simply cannot find Latinx talent to fill key roles in TV shows and movies.

Source: Latino Donor Collaborative: Latinos in Media Report 2022

LDC also aims to encourage Latinx consumers to vote with their consumer discretionary money.

“Support the companies, channels and producers who represent us,” Valdez said Sept. 24 at the four-day Latinx Attitude business conference in San Diego. “Start using the power of your purse. “Support shows and movies that portray you in the way you want to be seen. Don’t support those that portray you in an embarrassing way.

LDC’s report argues that research demonstrates that young Latinx viewers, who make up about 25% of all young adult entertainment consumers, are less likely to watch mainstream movies and TV shows that have no representation from Latinx. And young American consumers of Latinx have different expectations than their parents and grandparents.

“American Latinos are one in four topics of interest for every Hollywood content creator (25% of all young Americans),” the report said. “Ninety percent of them were born in America, English is their first language and are proud Americans. They are also proud of their Latino heritage and, unlike their parents, this younger generation of Latinos revolves around brands and content in which they can see themselves represented in authentic and empowering ways.

Valdez adds: “And we are loyal. We remember companies that show up for us.

The release of the LDC report on the heels of The Attitude conference is an effort to urge post-pandemic America to recognize the relative lack of progress for Latinx communities at all levels.

“It’s a simple math,” Nielsen CEO David Kenny told the L’Attitude crowd on September 23, about the future growth chart for the US-born Latinx population.

Advertisers looking to sell everything from packaged goods to cars to home loans will see the majority of business growth in the coming decades from Latinx households.

Jim Cramer, the veteran host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” brought his usual high-energy plea to his Attitude Q&A with Trujillo on Sept. 23.

“That’s where the growth is,” Cramer shouted from the stage, holding up a printout of a recent LDC report on demographic and business trends.

He also told the crowd emphatically that the lack of awareness of Latinx consumer trends among many top business leaders is concerning. Trujillo gently but forcefully pressed Cramer to commit to talking about this blind spot on his CNBC series. At the conference, Cramer bristled at anecdotal reports that many top advertisers are still discounting Latinx consumers and questioning their level of discretionary income.

“That’s insulting,” Cramer shouted. “That’s to say in-sultant.

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