It may not surprise you how much media and entertainment (M&E) shape how we view the world and how we see ourselves in it. Whether you’re binge-watching a new show, heading to the movie theater to see the latest box-office hit, listening to your favorite podcast, playing a new video game, or paging through a bestseller—the influence of media is everywhere.
Deloitte Digital’s new Media Reimagined research was created to help M&E organizations understand why prioritizing inclusive representation is critical, and its impact on content choice, viewer loyalty, and workforce engagement.
Our study explores why equity is a business imperative and delves into the current state of equity among M&E consumers and talent. It also suggests steps leaders can take to prioritize inclusion and representation at every level of their organization.
Telling authentic stories, creating inclusive teams, and prioritizing representation are not only good for society, they’re also good for a company’s bottom line. Here’s how:
Equity actually does matter in content choice and is tied to increased revenue
Representation matters in the media—both onscreen and behind the scenes—and it’s crucial to an M&E organization’s long-term success. As such organizations work toward representing, engaging, and appealing to the full diversity of their audiences, it will be essential to embrace the Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ viewers that are shaping the behaviors and loyalties of the new media landscape.
Our research demonstrates that Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ audiences are helping to redefine what success looks like in M&E—especially when it comes to inclusivity and representation:
- Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ audiences drive over a third of the total $717 billion US M&E market.
- Combined, these three audiences spend $250 billion+ annually and contribute an even higher percentage (52%) among US adult Gen Z entertainment spend.
If media and entertainment organizations want to continue to succeed in the industry, they must focus on appealing to and connecting with diverse audiences. That connection starts with understanding how these audiences are shifting toward products and services that allow them to personally curate their experiences, share within their own communities, and directly interact with creator culture. By finding authentic ways to tell stories and create content that is more representative of their audiences, M&E organizations will better engage them and thus, build more trust and loyalty.
Investment in inclusivity isn’t the only driver of business success, but it’s vital
Creating a more equitable future in the M&E industry is a business imperative, and our survey results indicate the market potential to support that.
Consumers across all communities spend more on brands that prioritize inclusivity and engage creators equitably. Data from our survey reveals the following:
of current media and entertainment spend among Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ audiences is driven by feelings of inclusivity
of current media and entertainment spend tied to inclusivity can be traced to women-identifying audiences
increase of incremental and/or stabilized revenue potential across all audiences when they feel more included
By embracing diversity as the default when creating content and casting talent, brands can increase engagement and loyalty within these key audiences and ultimately tap into the expanded revenue opportunities these groups represent.
Equity, though, is a long-term ambition and not a short-term objective. Leaders must demonstrate a real commitment to making an impact that lasts. Meaningful change can look like exploring ways to work with historically underrepresented creators, using social media to reach, influence, and learn from new audiences, and developing stories outside the “norm.”
Representation also matters behind the screen
Consumers are very clear about the perceived lack of diversity and the need for inclusion in the M&E industry—and employees in the space tend to agree. Making the industry more inclusive and equitable starts inside organizations, which means taking a hard look at the workplace.
Our study reveals that “embracing anti-oppression ideals and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) policies and practices is now the second-most-important thing for surveyed M&E professionals at all levels” when choosing whether to work for an organization. Our data also exposes a disconnect between how employees and leaders prioritize inclusion. Of the M&E professionals who responded to our survey:
- 3 in 5 do not feel empowered to prioritize equity in decision-making
- 1 in 3 feel their leaders don’t understand what diversity and inclusion means
- 1 in 4 say the lack of diversity at senior levels is an issue
Without diverse voices helping to make decisions and having a “seat at the table,” organizations risk creating superficial strategies that fail.
Creating a more equitable future in M&E demands consistent, daily work. Through authentic commitment, business leaders across industries can turn intention into action.
“These findings are not only critical to media and entertainment but also have a long tail impact for almost every industry,” said Stacy Kemp, principal, Deloitte Digital and executive lead of Deloitte’s CMO Program. Here are four steps Kemp thinks leaders in M&E organizations and beyond should prioritize to drive change:
- Develop new working models: Redevelop talent processes by addressing procedural and perceptual biases that may act as blockers to bringing in more diverse talent.
- Set measurable and transparent goals: Use data systems to help you better understand the complexity and nuances of your audience base, reveal their needs, and embed ways to track your progress toward your goals.
- Empower the people who build your brand: Devote time and resources to empower your teams at all levels to own the decision-making that drives downstream value for the business.
- Model personal accountability: Embrace transparency and determine ways to hold leaders accountable for their steps toward change.
Meaningfully prioritizing and integrating equity as a guiding business principle helps M&E organizations stand out, gain a competitive advantage, and have greater potential to lead the future of the industry.
Discover how high-performing organizations are driving new growth through inclusive representation in front of and behind the camera by downloading the full report.