A new study found that Hollywood loses nearly $ 10 billion each year by undervaluing television and film projects about and by black creators. The report, released Thursday by McKinsey & Company, estimates that eliminating racial inequalities could bring the industry an additional 7% to its base sales of $ 148 billion.
“Fewer black-led stories are told, and when they do, these projects have consistently been underfunded and undervalued, even though they often have higher relative returns than other properties,” the study’s authors wrote.
In the study, which ran from 2015 to 2019, researchers sifted through over 2,000 films and interviewed industry professionals, including on-screen talent, executives, writers and directors, to talk about the barriers they face in the industry.
The researchers found that black actors are twice as likely to be included in racial films, which are the least funded and make up only a third of all films. They also found that films with two or more black workers in offscreen roles still made 40% less money than other projects.
However, the study says that the complexity of the television and film industries makes it harder to achieve justice. In order for black TV and film professionals to achieve more, they have to interact with several separate entities such as agencies, networks, studios and production houses, without strong structures for accountability and transparency.
There is also a lack of top-level representation – 87% of TV managers and 92% of film managers are white, an inequality that “trickles” across production, according to the study.
The study argues that “real and lasting change” in Hollywood “would require concerted action and the collective engagement of stakeholders across the industry ecosystem.” These steps include: taking steps to ensure diverse representation both on and off camera, increasing visibility into hiring and diversity reporting, finding and funding black stories, and creating an independent organization to improve diversity in Hollywood.
“If the on-screen and off-screen portrayal of black talent matches that of black Americans, and the industry can break down the ubiquitous job barriers that prevent black creators from telling a range of stories, viewers of all races will gain access to den many different products of the creative expression of black, “the authors wrote.
“Ultimately, reshaping the film and television ecosystem will play a role in reshaping racial ideas – and promoting racial justice – in America and beyond.”