October 3, 2023

If Hollywood eliminated racial inequalities in the film and television industries, annual sales could rise 7%, or about $ 10 billion, according to a new study by McKinsey.

The consulting firm’s investigation found that black-led stories are underfunded and undervalued.

“A complex, interdependent value chain with dozens of hidden barriers and other vulnerabilities strengthens the status quo of the breed in the industry. Based on our research, we have cataloged nearly 40 specific vulnerabilities that black talent regularly encounter when trying to build their careers “wrote the report’s authors.

Franklin Leonard, the CEO and founder of The Blacklist, which aims to democratize writers’ access to the entertainment industry, and a former McKinsey employee, prompted the consulting giant to undergo this study last June.

“I reached out to some of my former coworkers and said if you are interested in researching racial inequality Hollywood is a place to do it,” said Leonard. “Mainly because this economic inequality is not just in our industry, but we are exporting and expanding stories around the world, which also has a material impact on the lives of blacks and people around the world.”

The leading positions in the film and television industry are disproportionately white. Ninety-two percent of all film managers are white, the report said. McKinsey noted that this is more than any other industry, including finance and energy. The TV industry is slightly more diverse than consumer goods, finance, and transportation / travel, at 87% white, according to the report.

And while the US population is roughly 13.5% black, according to the report, 6% of writers, directors, and producers of Hollywood movies are black, while 8% have at least one black producer.

McKinsey said there are important barriers to entry, including the fact that entry-level entertainment jobs often offer low or no wages. Research highlights that industrial jobs are often shared by small, predominantly white, elite networks.

Another challenge is bias – both subconsciously and overtly.

“We have an exceptionally talented black community in Hollywood and they are doing an exceptional job,” said Leonard. “One has to wonder what they would be capable of and what Hollywood would be capable of if we actually removed these barriers and allowed everyone to participate at a level that matches their ability and, frankly, their ability to make a return on the land . ” Investment.”

Leonard said he was “most shocked” by the return on investment numbers.

“Black content still delivers about 10% better ROI despite underfunding, support and subdistribution,” he said.

To level the field, the study recommends that studios adopt transparency and accountability towards their own ranks, and expand recruitment to state schools and historically black colleges and universities. This could be achieved with the help of a third party organization.

Leonard noted that the potential $ 10 billion gain that could result from diversity efforts is specifically related to the underrepresentation of black talent and executives. The overall chance is considerably greater than if other underrepresented minorities are added.