Hollywood could gain $4 billion if API representation improved, study suggests

Hollywood could gain $4 billion if API representation improved, study suggestsHollywood could gain $4 billion if API representation improved, study suggests
via Thea Hdc on Unsplash
The film and television industry in the U.S. holds immense potential for increased revenue by improving the representation and authenticity of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) content, according to a new study. 
Key points:
  • The report by consulting firm McKinsey, conducted in collaboration with Gold House, suggests that Hollywood could gain $2 billion to $4.4 billion in financial revenue if they effectively tap the API market.
  • Despite the recent prominence of APIs in popular culture, significant disparities still exist in on- and off-screen roles across film and television. Many entertainment industry experts and API consumers feel their experiences are not authentically portrayed in the media.
The details:
  • Despite higher average incomes, API consumers reportedly spend less money on entertainment compared to other racial groups. McKinsey’s 2023 survey of 1,000 API consumers in the U.S. found that half of APIs would be willing to spend more on film and TV if their experiences were portrayed authentically.
  • According to the survey, less than 30% of respondents feel that their racial and ethnic identity is accurately represented in film and television. This sentiment is particularly pronounced among East Asians, Southeast Asians and Pasifika respondents. 
  • The report suggests strategies for the industry to expand opportunities for API professionals and create more authentic portrayals of API characters, which could further stimulate consumer engagement and revenue growth.
  • As API populations continue to grow, reaching nearly 9% of the U.S. population by 2060, the potential market opportunity is expected to increase $4 billion and up to 8 billion annually. 
Representation in film and TV:
  • Moreover, there’s a genre skew in API representation, with a majority of API leads appearing in action-adventure films, often with narratives that are race-agnostic rather than specific to API cultural experiences. 
  • The representation of API actors in television also varies by genre, with a notable percentage of episodes with API leads being part of animated series but significantly less in dramas and non-scripted shows.
  • McKinsey suggests several ideas to unlock the potential for more revenue: promote API representation in leadership, provide financial support for API projects, support API off-screen talent, broaden project evaluation criteria and continuously track API representation.
  • McKinsey emphasizes that executives don’t need to act out of altruism to champion API representation in film and television. “The reward for getting it right could be a windfall of billions of dollars in annual revenues—and the prize will only grow,” the authors wrote. “Progress won’t be easy, but when the enhanced richness and authenticity of storytelling could be accompanied by such a substantial opportunity, the business case is clear.”
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