As people of color continue to make up a bigger part of America over the next several decades, they will also increase their influence all throughout entertainment demographics. Modern Treatise looks to accommodate millennial African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans across the realms of music, film, television, and digital media. In addition to catering to their tastes, it will also address the fact that entertainment consumer diversity hasn't been matched by diversity within the industries. Musicians, actors, hosts, and content makers of color will be highlighted along with their works.
According to the US Census Bureau, people of color were 37% of the population in 2014 and are expected to be the majority by 2043. Americans under 18 are expected to be majority non-white by 2020, and babies of color one year old oryounger already comprise a slight majority. Millennials are currently 43% of color. Not only are these strong trends, people of color are already overrepresented in many forms of entertainment consumption, particularly online.
They download and stream music, buy digital albums and songs, and watch music videos online more than the general population. They are more active on social media when it comes to sharing music and engaging with artists. They're more likely to comment on Facebook posts, share and "like" Facebook posts, and retweet Tweets from artist pages and profiles. Among online music sources, people of color use free (Pandora and YouTube) and paid (Spotify Premium and Google Play) services more than whites.
Brands have found that music is a more effective form of marketing for consumers of color than those as a whole. They are more likely to respond favorably to various methods of engagement, such as offers of a free download of a newly released single, sponsorships of favorite artists, or simply featuring music that they enjoy in ads. Given the quickly changing nature of the music industry, arguably more so compared to most other forms of entertainment, record companies would be wise to closely pay attention to this ever increasing portion of their customer base.
Similar to their digital music habits, people of color have had disproportionately high consumption of film. In 2013, they made up 51% of frequent moviegoers, defined as people who watch a movie in theaters once a month or more. This overrepresentation has been particularly driven by Hispanic Americans. Along with blacks and Asian Americans, they also have higher annual theater attendance per capita than whites.
However, while people of color may be going to the movies often, they're not seeing many characters of their ethnic backgrounds on the screen. The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA conducted an extensive study of 347 films released in 2012 and 2013, and 1105 TV shows that aired during the 2012-2013 season. It found that while there are some signs of progress, people of color are vastly underrepresented in film and television across multiple industry positions. For example, in 2013, 16.7% of movies featured an actor or actress of color in the lead role. Given their 37% proportion of the total population, people of color were underrepresented in this category by a factor of roughly 2 to 1. Cable TV and digital platform leads had around the same level; broadcast TV leads fared much worse, being underrepresented by nearly 6 to 1. Film directors and writers had factors of 2 and 3 to 1, respectively.
Lack of diversity in film and television does not stop at the people involved in the creative process. It extends to the most powerful - movie studio executives and TV show creators - who ultimately control or heavily influence hiring decisions for the rest of the people in their industries. In film studios as of last year, 17 of 18 chair/CEOs, 70 of 76 members of senior management, and 54 of 56 unit heads were white. During the 2012-2013 season, TV creators of color were underrepresented across all types: broadcast (5.9%), cable (10.7%), and digital (5%).
People of color, especially those who are millennials, are helping to drive several entertainment trends and preserve long-running industries. They are increasing their considerable influence as consumers but continue to lag behind in being directly involved with the actual content they're enjoying, especially at the top. Modern Treatise will do its part in bridging this unfortunate gap by providing its audience the entertainment content they desire, and informing them of people of color who are major industry players.
Make sure to check out Modern Treatise as gradually more and more content gets rolled out this month. Read about its vision through the Media Kit, and don't hesitate to contact the magazine about collaborating through interviews, product profiles, and more.