A lack of cultural diversity in Australia’s media and entertainment industry is impeding on the industry’s growth, PwC’s recent report says.
According to PwC, the average employee in our media and entertainment sector is 27, male, Caucasian, living in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs or the Inner West. In radio, homogeneity is even more pronounced, with 75% of on-air talent being male, white and over the age of 35.
TV Presenter Michael Casey said, “because of the lack of cultural diversity, minorities are often forced to develop their own ‘niche’ in the media industry…hence the development of channels such as SBS, National Indigenous Television (NITV) and Al Jazeera…”
PwC also reports 82.7% of the national entertainment and media workforce are monolingual, speaking only English at home. Of those people, 37% live in Sydney.
Kasey didn’t find this at all surprising, “the perception of the Anglo-Saxon is the typical stereotype…even as a second and third generation individual. Even though my boss has a Greek background, he uses a typical Anglo-Saxon name…it’s just a more accepted name in the industry.”
Despite multiple studies demonstrating diversity improves business outcomes for the industry, the most significant study of diversity on Australian screens since television started in 1965 says media is still not reflecting a multicultural Australia.
Screen Australia’s study analysed all 199 dramas that aired between 2011 and 2015. The study revealed that although 32% of Australians have backgrounds other than Anglo-Celctic, only 18% of main characters were non Anglo-Celctic.
Survey and consultations of Screen Australia noted that the high cost of drama, along with the imperative to attract broad audiences made investing in untested diverse talents and stories risky.
Casey added, “unfortunately careers in this industry aren’t typically or actively promoted to multiple people of different backgrounds”.
Only indigenous media representation bucked the trend. Whilst Broadcast in Colour’s 2002 study found only 2 Indigenous Australians were sustaining roles on TV in 1999, Screen Australia found currently 5% of main characters are Indigenous.