Fifty-two percent of Netflix movies and series in 2018 and 2019 had girls or women in lead roles. And 35.7% of all Netflix tracks during that timeframe were from under-represented groups, up from 28% in the Top 100 Top-grossing Movie Theaters.
The results were released on Friday by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which Netflix commissioned to review its own original scripted films and series in the United States. The study analyzed 126 films and 180 series released in 2018 and 2019.
“Notably, out of 19 of the 22 metrics we included in this study, Netflix showed improvement in movies and series from 2018 to 2019,” said Stacy L. Smith, who heads the initiative and studies representation in film and television since 2005, at an online symposium, the company organized to discuss the investigation. She said Netflix has also increased the percentage of women on screen and working as directors, writers and producers; for the cast and crew of Black; and for women of color in leading roles.
Of the 130 Netflix filmmakers in those two years, 25% were female in 2018 and 20.7% in 2019, surpassing feature films theatrically released by other studios during the same period.
While Netflix reflects gender equality in its lead roles in TV series and movies, when every speaking character is evaluated, those roles don’t match what the country looks like in terms of gender and race. . Only 19.9 percent of all stories reached this mark. For example, 96% of the articles did not feature any woman onscreen who identified as Native American / Alaskan Native, and 68.3% of the rated content did not include a speaking role for a Latina. This number increased to 85% when it comes to speaking roles for women in the Middle East / North Africa.
Netflix’s chief film officer Scott Stuber recognized how crucial these types of small parts are for working actors.
“The SAG card is everything,” he said, referring to the Screen Actors Guild membership that performers earn by playing roles in various projects. “This is the start of the dream. We need to be very active with our filmmakers and casting directors to resolve this issue. He’s the next great artist. This is the next Viola Davis.
According to the report, LGBTQ characters at all levels of film and television were marginalized, especially transgender characters. And only 11.8% of LGBTQ characters in lead roles were shown as parents.
“I was shocked that we weren’t doing very well there,” said Bela Bajaria, head of global television for Netflix. “I feel like we are so active in our scripts. But the lack of gay parents on our shows is clearly a takeaway.
According to Netflix chief executive Ted Sarandos, the company has committed to releasing a new report every two years until 2026.
“Our hope is to create a benchmark for ourselves, and more broadly for the entire industry,” he wrote in a blog post accompanying the report.
Director and screenwriter Alan Yang told the symposium he was optimistic about the future of inclusion in entertainment, especially at Netflix, which produced a series he created with Aziz Ansari, “Master of None ”, and his feature film“ Tigertail ”.
“It’s going to get a lot better if Bela and Scott buy all the shows and movies that I put on them,” Mr. Yang said with a laugh.