diversity in media

Embracing Diversity in Television: A Call for Authentic Representation

Television has always been a powerful medium for storytelling, but recent data from Horowitz’s FOCUS Black: State of Media, Entertainment, and Tech: Consumer Engagement 2023 report highlights the importance of authenticity and diversity in captivating audiences. According to the FOCUS Black report, 66% of Black consumers express a strong preference for shows that center around Black culture and communities. Additionally, 61% of Black consumers are more inclined to tune into shows featuring a predominantly Black cast. Other Horowitz data show similar interest among Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQIA+ consumers. These statistics underscore the continued need for media brands to invest in content that reflects the diverse fabric of American society in the context of ongoing political attacks on DEI initiatives and the elimination of various key DEI roles at American media companies.

For the audiences in question, it’s not just about watching TV for entertainment; it’s about seeing oneself reflected on screen. For diverse and underrepresented audiences, seeing stories that resonate with their experiences and culture is not only relatable but also affirming. It validates diverse identities and fosters a sense of connection with the characters and narratives portrayed.

Moreover, representation in media goes beyond mere entertainment. As we have asserted for more than 2 decades through our research, accurate and visible representation in media of marginalized communities holds the power to challenge stereotypes and promote understanding. There is also a universality inherent to the experiences of marginalized communities. This is why, showcasing the richness and diversity of Black experiences, this content has the potential to bridge divides and foster empathy among viewers from all backgrounds.

The economic implications of catering to diverse audiences cannot be overstated. With the buying power of Black and other diverse consumers steadily increasing, content creators and networks stand to benefit from producing shows that resonate with this demographic. The FOCUS Black report found that 60% of Black consumers say when a company spends a substantial portion of their advertising dollars supporting Black media, it has a positive impact on their decision to buy from that organization. 

However, achieving authentic representation requires more than just token gestures. From media companies, it requires a commitment to diversity at every level of production, from casting to storytelling. It means giving voice to diverse perspectives and ensuring that behind-the-scenes talent reflects the diversity of the stories being told. 

Viewers also play a role in uplifting diverse voices. By tuning in to shows that celebrate diversity, the audience has the power to shape the media landscape by tuning into programs that center around Black, Latinx, or other cultures and which feature diverse casts, American audiences send a clear message to content creators that representation matters. 

As we move forward, let’s forgo fear and backlash in favor of advocating for stories that reflect the rich tapestry of American society. Let’s champion diversity, inclusion, and authenticity in media, ensuring that everyone sees themselves represented on screen. 

The full FOCUS Black: State of Media, Entertainment, and Tech: Consumer Engagement 2023 report explores different segments of Black consumers and their attitudes towards hot-button topics to help media companies, advertisers, advertising/marketing agencies, and PR companies make smart decisions about Black marketing and outreach. The survey was conducted in August 2023 among 555 Black adults 18+. Data have been weighted to ensure results are representative of the overall U.S. Black population. The report is available in total market, FOCUS Latinx, FOCUS Black, and FOCUS Asian editions.

Sarah Garnica is a Marketing Associate at Horowitz Research, driven by her passion for understanding market trends. She thrives on connecting brands with consumers and is dedicated to giving voices to those who are often overlooked, ensuring diverse perspectives are heard and valued. 

For more information about the FOCUS Black: State of Media, Entertainment, and Tech: Consumer Engagement 2023 report, visit www.horowitzresearch.com/syndicated-research/focus-black/. To purchase the report, schedule an interview with an analyst, or to request specific data, please contact Nicole Cicogna: [email protected], 347-738-1574.

ABOUT HOROWITZ RESEARCH DIVISION OF M/A/R/C RESEARCH

Horowitz Research is a leading provider of consumer market research specializing in consumers and their relationships to media, content, and technology with a particular expertise in cultural insights among America’s Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQIA+, and Gen Z audiences. The company offers a full suite of à la carte syndicated reports as well as custom quantitative and qualitative consumer research for companies ranging from small start-ups to Fortune 500. Horowitz Research was recently acquired by M/A/R/C Research, a Texas-based research, and insights firm. For more information, visit www.horowitzresearch.com.

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