Netflix released a unique diversity study on Friday to analyze the makeup of Netflix talent on screen, as well as creators, producers, writers and directors behind the camera.
The report shows that the company has made progress but still has more work to do to fill the diversity gaps. The company is committed to an “inclusion lens” for its work, which, according to Co-CEO Ted Sarandos, means asking questions like: “Whose voice is missing? Is this representation authentic? Who is excluded?”
The company also announced the creation of the Netflix Creative Equity Fund, which will invest $ 100 million over the next five years in organizations that help underrepresented communities train and find jobs in television and film. Netflix has also committed to providing an update on this study every two years through 2026.
“I think it’s important that the content reflects the people who see it,” Sarandos said in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Alley on Friday. “I think the way people can connect with content, with a great movie or show, is that they see something of themselves in it, either that it is very relatable, that it looks like them , or that it reflects a life experience that they have had. “
The study was conducted at the request of Netflix by Stacy Smith, who has a PhD in communication and human development and is the founder and director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative regularly reports on diversity in film and television. Smith’s team examined all of the films and series that Netflix commissioned between 2018 and 2019. Of the 22 inclusion indicators (such as racial identities, LGBTQ + and disability) 19 showed improvement over the biennium.
Netflix’s strengths when it comes to diversity lie with women. The study found that gender equality played a role in leading roles in films and television series. Smith also found that Netflix outperforms the industry in hiring women and people of color as directors. Netflix has also been found to exceed the proportional representation of black leads and the main cast.
However, the report also found that other racial and ethnic groups were underrepresented relative to the US population. LatinX characters only made up 4% of the leads despite making up 12% of the population, and only 3% of the creators and producers were LatinX.
The study also found that LGBTQ + signs were rare: only 4% of main characters in movies and 1% in TV series. And while the study says 27% of the US population has a disability, less than 1% of the series leads and only 5% of the series’ leading actors were characters with disabilities.
“Dr. Smith’s years of research – including this new study – confirms this involvement behind that
The camera exponentially increases inclusion in front of the camera, and both of them depend on the Netflix executives commissioning these stories to be different too, “Sarandos wrote in a blog post about the report.” Getting better means creating even more opportunities for underrepresented communities to hear their voices and target capacity and skill gaps with training programs where they are needed. “
The Friday news and the company’s fund are the latest in a series of diversity commitments.
In January, the company released its first Netflix employee inclusion report. And in June, Netflix pledged $ 100 million to help black communities by investing 2% of its cash holdings in black financial institutions that serve low-income and low-income communities.
Reed Hastings, Founder and Co-CEO of Netflix, has also been personally committed to diversity. In June, Hastings and his wife donated $ 120 million to historically black colleges and universities.