Representation in Media

Examining  Black Representation in TV, Movies and Streaming

The end of awards season and the beginning of another not-so-traditional summer movie season provides a moment to examine the progress being made to improve racial diversity in front and behind the camera, as well as identify areas that require more focus and investment to drive racial equity.  

Since last May,  the American cultural and political landscape has experienced seismic shifts. Passion for racial justice, equality and change across our society has never been higher, and Hollywood continues to be a focal point because of its global reach, and power to shape trends and influence cultural change.  

In this latest in a series of reports focusing on diversity and inclusion in media and entertainment, MarketCast set out to understand how Black audiences are thinking and feeling about the state of representation in movies and TV, and how that compares to other audiences. To answer our key questions, we interviewed thought leaders from academia, studied millions of social media conversations, and launched a quantitative research study across demographic lines in the U.S. 

Our findings look to uncover audience appetite for more representative content, identify the characters and storylines that Black audiences are craving most, and understand what parents are seeking in diverse content for their kids. 

Additionally, we identified six thought starters that entertainment industry leaders should consider when looking to improve representation in front of and behind the camera. 

Key Themes We Wanted to Study: 

  • How does the ongoing racial and social justice movement impact attitudes and beliefs regarding representation in entertainment? 
  • What steps can the industry take to best improve Black representation in front of and behind the camera?  
  • What do Black audiences want to prioritize when it comes to representation? 
  • What are White audiences thinking and feeling about representation on-screen?  
  • How can improving racial representation in media and entertainment benefit all audiences? 

Complete the form below to download the full report.

Sports Fandom and Kid Athletes

Understanding the Impact of Sports on Young Athletes

Last month, MarketCast set out to understand the impact the global pandemic is having on kids’ media habits and mental health. We also focused a section of this research on sports, and the role it plays in the lives of young people. Specifically, we wanted to learn how playing and watching sports factors into the mix of a young person’s daily activities, and how sports compare to other media, such as playing video games or browsing social media.

Additionally, we wanted to understand the importance of sports on the identity of young people, including how participating in organized sports and sports brands influence their sense of confidence, self-worth and happiness.

So how are kids spending their time?

Among youth ages 7-15, media content remains a huge passion area with video games, TV and YouTube all leading the way when it comes to favorite things to do. Interestingly, according to our study, watching professional sports on TV is more of a niche interest than actually playing sports.

Favorite Hobbies, Passions & Things To Do

Sports Fandom Grows in Teen Years, But Video Games Dominate

Not surprising, video games dominate media engagement across age groups. However, between the ages of 13-15, we begin to see an uptick in young people considering playing sports as a passion area. This coincides with their entering middle and high school where sports becomes a focal point for their peers. By contrast, watching TV shows and movies becomes less important of a passion area after the 7-8 age range, while video games continues to be an important marker of identity with age.

Identity Matters to Kids

Kids are influenced by several external factors when it comes to their identity, and we’re seeing some differences with those that identify themselves as athletes compared to those who don’t.

Kids who consider themselves student athletes:

  • 56% consider taking care of their appearance as a more important part of who they are versus 38% of kids who don’t identify as athletes
  • 72% of self-identified athletes rate themselves as happy compared to 65% of non-athletes
  • 59% say they are more confident compared to 41% of kids who do not identify as student athletes
  • 52% of student athletes rate being physically strong is an important part of who they are

Kids Lean on Sports Teams, Athletes & Organizations for Inspiration

How kids see and deal with mental health issues is often shaped by what they’re seeing around them. In today’s society, sports teams, athletes and organizations play a big role in how young people identify with themselves and follow.

  • 49% of youth who follow sports believe their identity and what’s important to them is connected to their participation, 9% more than non-sports fans. This is on par with identity markers “like having a lot of friends” (49%) and “being popular” (45%).
  • Sports teams and companies are the #1 type of brand that kids can see helping them with identity (“figuring out who I am”).
  • Helping with social issues is the #1 way that kids could see sports teams and companies helping.

Why It Matters

While sports fandom seems to take a back seat to video games and other media, student athletes report being happier and more confident than non-athletes, and they view sports teams and brands as playing an important role in helping shape their identity.

However, assuming all kids will grow up to be sports and movie fans is no longer a given. As more forms of content compete for the attention of kids and youth, from Fortnite and TikTok to Roblox and YouTube, sports rights holders, content creators and brands will have to develop strategies to nurture their fandom through every stage of development.

To learn more about MarketCast’s Kids, Youth and Family research practice, contact us.