May 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Streaming movies took a hit last year — and so could cast and audience diversity

Illustration of a toppled over vintage television with color bars falling out onto the floor

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The number of English-language streaming films dropped by more than 28% from 2022 to 2023, per a new report.

Why it matters: Fewer streaming films means fewer opportunities for Latino actors and filmmakers to get a shot in Hollywood.

  • Films made for streaming services are the most diverse and where women and people of color are most represented in proportion to their share of the population.

State of play: The UCLA Hollywood Diversity report, released Thursday, focused on streaming services and their audiences in 2023.

  • According to the report, women and people of color make up a huge chunk of audiences for streaming movies.
  • For example, people of color were nearly 66% of the audience for "The Mother," starring Jennifer Lopez, and 50% for "You People," the romantic comedy starring Jonah Hill, Lauren London and Eddie Murphy. Both films were released on Netflix.
  • 35% of movies on streamers had majority diverse casts, per the report. For movies released in the theaters last year, that figure was 26.4%.

What they're saying: "We're seeing the industry contract," says Darnell Hunt, UCLA's executive vice chancellor and provost, and co-founder of the report.

  • "The boom of streaming is fizzling out, as less streaming films are getting the greenlight and less investment goes into the ones that actually move
    forward."
  • "Increased diversity in front of and behind the camera continues to draw audiences in," says Ana-Christina Ramón, another co-founder of the report.
  • "It reflects the world we live in and will resonate more deeply with youth who are already majority BIPOC and who have become accustomed to seeing themselves reflected in animated films and content produced on social media," she adds.

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