Paramount has recently published its insight study, Reflecting Me: Representation on Screen In an effort to uphold its commitment to the industry and societal impact as it relates to diversity and inclusion.
For the uniquely African perspective, Paramount focused on two of Africa’s biggest social and economic hubs, South Africa and Nigeria. This was to explore perceptions of on-screen representation and diversity among consumers in the African landscape.
“Reflecting Me: Representation on Screen reflects consumer insights directly while aiming to ensure that we have impact on the issue of diversity and representation. The study outcomes direct and shape how on-screen content should look and feel, and also shows that improvement is necessary in many aspects,” said Giuliana Dias, director of the research and insights division at Paramount.
Over 1,000 people aged 13-49 in South Africa’s nine provinces were reached. This meant connecting with real people across a diverse range of backgrounds and identities, through video interviews to hear their perspectives and experiences. Given the geographical and Covid-19 pandemic constraints, creative, immersive digital exercises were innovatively used to get to know the respondents and their worlds in more detail.
“With our affiliate channel and brands distinctively speaking to the inclusion and diversity mantra, we are truly contributing towards a positive trajectory to driving change through insights on representation. This is a game-changer for us and will allow us to elevate our content, to truly speak to each and every individual in our African markets and beyond,” added Monde Twala, senior vice president and general manager at Paramount.
Amongst other key insights, the study revealed that most respondents (85%) agree that the way groups and identities are portrayed in TV shows and movies influence how they are perceived in the real world. Other areas of improvement include better representation of diverse cultures (40% chose this), more diverse stories from diverse cultures (38% chose this) and educating people within the industry (35% chose this). These are all factors that were in the top five for South Africa specifically.
The study also revealed that 87% of the South African subjects affirm the importance of on-screen platforms offering diverse representation.
From a Nigerian perspective, a majority of people agree that change is needed with 90% agreeing that there needs to be more diversity in TV shows and movies and 64% being satisfied with current levels of representation on screen, while 40% feel there needs to be more types of groups and identities represented in TV shows and movies.
“It is evident that the study tackles a socially relevant issue, a sentiment that is aligned to us at Paramount. We will certainly continue to play our part as content creators to ensure that the content that we create, ensures a deeper connection with our audiences. And we look forward to nurturing partnerships that will ensure we make this happen,” Twala concluded.