ViacomCBS, parent company of Paramount+, CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, released the findings of its newest Global Insights project, “Reflecting Me: Global Representation on Screen,” which uncovers that global audiences feel entertainment companies have a responsibility to increase authentic, accurate on-screen representation.
“Reflecting Me: Global Representation on Screen” is an expansive in-depth exploration of how television and entertainment teach people about themselves and others, with more than 15.000 people surveyed from across 15 countries worldwide. The study was commissioned by ViacomCBS Networks International’s Race and Equity Taskforce, as part of Content for Change, a global ViacomCBS initiative that aims to counteract racism, bias, stereotypes and hate through the company’s culture, creative supply chain, and ultimately the content it creates.
Representation matters to audiences all around the world, with more than 80% calling for more to be done to improve representation both on and off screen. It is also widely recognized that representation has an impact on the real world by influencing people’s perceptions, with 85% of respondents in agreement. Those that feel poorly represented suggest that this is not only due to not seeing enough people like them on screen but also due to seeing inaccurate portrayals, with more than half (52%) of people who feel poorly represented saying accuracy is lacking.
“Representation in media is a critical component to authentically connecting with diverse audiences and communities. Along with launching our expanded Content for Change initiative, this study reflects how ViacomCBS is proactively taking steps to transform our entire creative ecosystem to better serve our audiences and create meaningful change now and for the future,” said Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP, Chief Research Officer at ViacomCBS.
Christian Kurz, Senior Vice President of Global Streaming and Corporate Insights, added: “Through this study, for the first time, we see evidence of the connection between representation on screen and mental health. We know representation done right can aid in improving the lives of people globally and have the responsibility not only to continue the changes within our industry but also serve as a catalyst for positive social change around the world”.
Lastly, Susan Nave, one of ViacomCBS’ Race and Equity Task Force Leaders, commented: “From the early days after the formation of the VCNI Programming and Audience Task Force, we knew that, in order to succeed, we had to understand the opinions behind the scenes - those of our audience. Made up of an international team across all aspects of our business, we worked in close collaboration with the global insights team to identify key markets and individuals, giving us a truly international view around on-screen representation. We think it’s eye opening, thought provoking and an excellent road map for our business”.
Representation in media is a critical component to authentically connecting with diverse audiences and communities” Colleen Fahey Rush EVP, Chief Research Officer at ViacomCBS