New Study Claims Diverse Casts Deliver Higher Ratings, Bigger Box Office

This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Chiwetel Ejiofor, center, in a scene from "12 Years A Slave." The Golden Globes nominations will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 12. Ejiofor was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture drama for his role in the film on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. The 71st annual Golden Globes will air on Sunday, Jan. 12. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Jaap Buitendijk)
This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Chiwetel Ejiofor, center, in a scene from "12 Years A Slave." The Golden Globes nominations will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 12. Ejiofor was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture drama for his role in the film on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.  The 71st annual Golden Globes will air on Sunday, Jan. 12. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Jaap Buitendijk)
This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Chiwetel Ejiofor, center, in a scene from “12 Years A Slave.” (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Jaap Buitendijk)

(Yahoo) – Hollywood’s racial and gender diversity is increasing. But it’s not increasing quickly enough, says Darnell Hunt, lead author of the second annual Hollywood Diversity Report by UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, set for release Feb. 25. “Hollywood is not progressing at the same rate as America is diversifying,” says Hunt, the center’s director and a sociology professor. The U.S. population is about 40 percent minority and slightly more than half female, but, in news to no one, women and minorities are represented onscreen and behind the camera in drastically lesser proportions, the study indicates.

The problem isn’t audiences: During the years the study surveys — 2012 and 2013 — viewers preferred films and television shows with moderately diverse casts, according to Nielsen ratings and box-office reports. “Audiences, regardless of their race, are clamoring for more diverse content,” says co-author Ana-Christina Ramon.

The study blames the lack of diversity on agencies, guilds, studios and networks — “an industry culture that routinely devalues the talent of minorities and women,” reads the report.

The authors recognize the report’s time window limits its relevance, especially as racial diversity has shown big gains on TV during the 2014-15 season, but they predict their findings will encourage more progress.

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