The report explores equity’s business imperative, the current state of media and entertainment, and actionable steps for fostering inclusion and representation

NEW YORKMay 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Deloitte Digital has unveiled its pioneering “Media Reimagined” report, a captivating exploration into the vital role of equity in the media and entertainment (M&E) industry. Comprised of three thought-provoking sections, the report delves into the business imperative of equity, examines the current state of inclusivity and representation among M&E consumers and workforce, and offers actionable steps for creative industry leaders to foster equity throughout their organization’s ecosystem.

By focusing on the cornerstone elements of inclusion and representation across content choice, user experience, monetization, and employee engagement, the “Media Reimagined” report shines a spotlight on the transformative power of equity in shaping the future of M&E. Despite the ubiquity of media consumption, only 1 in 4 U.S. consumers surveyed feel included within the industry. Tackling pressing questions, the report sheds light on how equity impacts content choice, revenue generation, business success, and the industry’s ability to meet evolving expectations. Prioritizing equity as a guiding principle empowers M&E organizations to distinguish themselves from competitors and lead toward a more inclusive future.

“Feeling included is a key driver of content choice, engagement, and lifetime loyalty for consumers according to our Media Reimagined report,” said Wenny Katzenstein, media equity lead, customer strategy and applied design, Deloitte Digital, and managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Media and entertainment companies have room to improve when it comes to increasing representation, both within their company walls and through the media and content they produce. Technology has empowered audiences to make their preferences known, and companies have an imperative to make more equitable decisions to align with those preferences and drive better outcomes for business and society.”

Recognizing bellwether audiences

Deloitte Digital’s research found that the convergence of Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ audiences with generational shifts are helping to lead behavioral changes that are redefining what success looks like in M&E.

  • According to the Deloitte TrustID Customer Brand Index (October 2022), trust in the media and entertainment industry has fallen, with a 12% decrease from 2021 to 2022 alone. In fact, according to the survey, in the United States, more people distrust the industry than trust it when it comes to operating with transparency and humanity.
  • The most meaningful distrust is found among Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ communities, which have felt uniquely excluded and seem to contribute to an evolution in the way they engage with media.
  • The most relevant channels among these audiences are those where trust tends to be the highest: streaming, social, gaming, and music. The shifts of these three audiences toward streaming, social, and gaming can signify that together they can be seen as a bellwether audience for the generational shifts led by Gen Z — and engaging them could be critical for stabilizing and growing your business.

Prioritizing opportunities for inclusivity

Investing in inclusivity presents market potential for business leaders pursuing equity, as consumers are willing to spend more on brands that make them feel included and come from a wider diversity of creatives. Deloitte Digital’s research highlights both the long-term ambition of equity and the near-term opportunities for revenue stabilization, audience loyalty, and accessing new sales channels by prioritizing inclusivity.

  • Challenge your audience and creator strategy
    • By embracing diversity as the default, brands can more successfully cast shows, create marketing assets, and engage creative talent in a way that would be more relevant and resonant. This is critical over the next six to 12 months, the vast majority of Americans surveyed are looking to increase the amount of content they see from women creators (89%), racially diverse set of creatives (85%), and LGBTQIA+ creatives (80%).
  • Evolve how you activate social commerce
    • Black and Latinx consumers were among the most likely respondents to turn to social media to be informed about topics and to have influencers change their minds. If brands can embrace a more equitable approach to social commerce (e.g., stronger investments in creator culture, improvements in search and filtering features and functionality, enhanced transparency, and consumer autonomy), there could be an opportunity for gains.
  • Address risk tolerance in modernized storytelling
    • About 1 in 4 M&E professionals across all levels surveyed feel their organization will not prioritize diversity and inclusion because their leadership is worried about the risk of alienating people.
    • If organizations reimagine their audience development — reconsidering the notion of “key audiences” — they could be able to tell a broader set of inclusive and authentic stories and capitalize on the breadth of opportunity.

Turning equity ambitions into reality

Consumers are clear about the perceived lack of inclusivity in the industry. Despite leadership’s confidence in the progress made to date, the majority of the media and entertainment workforce tends to agree that the progress is insufficient — particularly regarding workforce experience and their ability to prioritize equity in decision-making.

  • Delivering a more equitable business strategy requires deliberate focus
    • The study found 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, only behind compensation.
    • Deloitte Digital’s research also discovered a 62% difference between how the average consumer and the average leader assess the current inclusivity of the M&E industry. Explanations for this gap range from concerns that leadership doesn’t fully understand what diversity and inclusion mean to frustrations surrounding a lack of diversity at senior levels.
    • Repairing the gap between consumer expectations and experiences could start by addressing the disconnect between company personnel and leadership, as 3 in 5 respondents across all levels in the business feel like they cannot prioritize equity in decision-making.

“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, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and executive lead of Deloitte’s CMO Program. “It will take the collective power of the C-suite to eliminate outdated orthodoxies, set measurable and transparent goals for representation, and empower leaders at every level to own their microdecisions.”

Deloitte Digital’s “Media Reimagined” report was developed using three-distinct methods that included a quantitative survey conducted in November 2022 among n=3,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and up in the U.S. who consume at least two forms of media at least once per week; another quantitative survey conducted in November 2022 among n=500 U.S. M&E professionals across all levels; and interviews with industry-leading stakeholders conducted in the summer of 2022. These sources informed the ideas, insights, and perspectives in the report.

Deloitte Digital helps companies create new growth by elevating the human experience — with connected ideas, technology and talent. Our ambition is to make the best customer-oriented organizations in the world. Alongside all of Deloitte, we foster the connections necessary to shape a better future for our clients, our culture, our society and our planet. Visit or follow Deloitte Digital on LinkedIn or Twitter to learn more.

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SOURCE Deloitte Consulting LLP

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