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Latinos in Hollywood is still lacking.
Latinos in Hollywood is still lacking. Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Latino community still underrepresented in mainstream media despite consumer power, according to new report

The new study by the Latino Donor Collaborative revealed continued marginalization in media.

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A new study released Friday, Sept. 23, by the Latino Donor Collaborative revealed the extent of the underrepresentation and marginalization facing the Latino community in mainstream media, such as television and film. This is despite a major rise in purchasing, consumer, power and growth of the population. 

According to the study, depending on the platform, Latinos represent one in four potential American TV and film viewers. They account for between 20% and 30% of the industry’s revenue as well as 50% of its growth. In an industry dependent on viewership and high revenue, the industry has not aimed at its growing target audience — the Latino community. 

The report also analyzed the last five years in film and found that just 5.2% Latinos accounted for the lead parts in a film, 5.1% were either co-stars or part of an ensemble, 3.5% were screenwriters, and 2.6% were directors. It also found that of the lead roles, half of the representations were negative and the other half were positive. 

In television, Latinos accounted for 3.1% of lead actors, 2.1% of co-stars and ensemble actors, and just 1.5% of showrunners in the industry. 

“Although there has been tremendous diversity advancement in Hollywood in recent years, the Latino community lags behind at all levels of representation. A lack of strategy to include Latinos, the largest and fastest growing minority, directly translates into money being left on the table and opportunities missed,” Ana Valdez, LCD’s president and CEO, said in the report.  

The study also reveals that there is currently no Latino in CEO roles nor any that are film or production executives. No Latinos in positions of authority to greenlight projects means an inability to change the trajectory of what stories are told and help push the Latino narrative forward correctly. Of senior executives, only 5.7% are Latino. 

Despite the power in growth and consumership, the market has not steered completely positively for Latinos. Marginalization and underrepresentation remain an issue. In recent times, according to the report, Latinos have grown in purchasing power. In the period from 2010 to 2019, Latinos purchasing power increased by over 69%. They accounted for 23% of all moviegoers and bought $2.9 billion, 29%, of all box office tickets for American productions. 

To help ensure more Latino hirings in the industry, LCD started a free network database called The Source that has over 3,000 experienced actors, writers, and directors who have worked with some of the leading companies of the past five years. 

Sol Trujillo, a co-founder and the chairman of the board at LCD, called out Hollywood’s lack of strategy to address the U.S. Latino market. “based on the invisibility of this community on screen and behind the camera.” 

Another recent report from LDC, in collaboration with Wells Fargo, revealed that if U.S. Latinos were an independent country, they would be the fifth biggest economy in the world. 

Latino purchasing output went from $1.7 trillion in 2010 to $2.8 trillion in 2020. 

“This report proves that our country’s biggest growth opportunity lies in our U.S. Latino cohort – We’re talking about not just population growth and workforce growth, but also economic growth in terms of wealth creation, businesses formed, homes purchased, products purchased, movie tickets and sports tickets bought, streaming subscriptions, you name it,” Trujillo said.

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