The recent #OscarsSoWhite controversy has served as a reminder of Hollywood’s not-so-stellar track record on diversity, as this weekend’s 88th Academy Awards in Los Angeles features exactly zero non-white acting nominees.
But, as many people in and around the film industry have already noted, Hollywood’s problems are about more than just recognizing minority actors, directors, and other professionals at award shows: there’s also a dearth of content that is more representative of the experiences of women and minorities. And, according to a new University of California, Los Angeles study, Hollywood will need to change its ways in order to account for increasingly diverse audiences.
The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA’s “2016 Hollywood Diversity Report: Business As Usual?”—set to be released on Thursday—finds that films and television shows whose diversity is reflective of the diversity found in American audiences tend to have higher box office earnings and better television ratings, according to Deadline. The report’s author, Dr. Darnell Hunt, told Deadline: “Diversity sells. Diverse audiences are buying the tickets. As a nation, we’re becoming half a percent more diverse every year and by 2042, minorities will be the majority.”
Hunt also noted in his interview with Deadline that a majority of the moviegoers who bought tickets to 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, one of that year’s highest-grossing films, were “people of color.”
The new report from UCLA comes on the heels of another recent study, from the University of Southern California, which details the lack of diversity in more than 100 movies and more than 300 television series from 2014. The USC study found that female characters made up less than one-third of all speaking characters across those films and series, while half of the content had zero Asian characters and 20% had no black characters.