NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / January 11, 2023 / Nielsen
First published in Nielsen Insights
Depictions of people with disabilities on television are increasing, but slowly. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult to find in the ever-expanding programming landscape, and viewers in the disabled community struggle to feel watched.
In the United States, 26% of the adult population has a disability, and worldwide, 1 billion people are members of the disability community. However, in order for this community to stand out among the population, it is rarely seen or depicted inaccurately in the content shown on screen.
As of September 2022, there will be 923,229 total TV titles available to viewers, a 43% increase from Q3 2019.1Also, while the amount of content containing disability has increased over time, progress has been slow, especially compared to the general increase in programming available. It reached its peak, releasing 518 works featuring disability themes and characters.2But that number is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to total content production. As of December 2022, 7,556 video titles contained disability-themed attribution, representing 4.1% of all 183,089 titles with descriptor metadata released during the same period. It’s just
Given such inclusion numbers, it is not surprising that 46% of people with disabilities feel their identity group is underrepresented on television. In fact, people with disabilities are 34% more likely than the general population to feel she’s underrepresented on screen.3.
Also, screen share remains low among programs featuring people with disabilities, and the inclusion of people with invisible disabilities is disproportionately favored compared to people with visible disabilities. increase. The total share of screens for people with disabilities is 8.8%, but only 0.4% for people with obvious disabilities.
While viewing time is low across all platforms, Cable stands out for having the highest total on-screen obstruction at 9.5%. And this on-screen representation is influencing how viewers with disabilities feel about cable.23% more likely to be disabled Compared to the general public, say cable is the most relevant platform for them2.
The proportion of people with visible disabilities is much lower, dropping to less than 1% across all platforms. This representation gap provides an opportunity for content creators and platforms to champion talent and elevate the stories of people with visible disabilities.
Lauren Appelbaum, senior vice president of communications and entertainment & news media at RespectAbility, said: “We need people with disabilities in a position to influence storylines and narratives, help with casting and talent decisions, and represent the disability community throughout the creative process.
Spotlight: Dead to Me
One show that puts people with visible disabilities in the spotlight is Dead to Me. Dirk is his comedy about a recent widow and her friendship with a free spirit with a secret. Actress Christina Applegate, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021, plays Jen, one of the two main characters. One of the few major characters with her visible disability, her Applegate recognizes how her own disability is perceived by viewers.
In an interview with The New York Times, she explained: It’s like, “I can’t get over it.” All right, then don’t pass by. But hopefully people will be able to walk past it, enjoy the ride, and say goodbye to these two girls.”
With the Season 3 premiere debuting at No. 4 on Netflix’s Top 10 list, and with more than 290 million hours of the show streamed to date, Dead to Me’s popularity is a testament to how viewers can identify disabled talent. It shows that you are not afraid to see the content that you have. they accept it.
But including disabled talent is not enough. People with disabilities want to see the real reality of their daily lives portrayed in the content they watch, but current representation falls far short of expectations. A survey of representations on television conducted in April 2022 found that people with disabilities were 52% more likely than the general public to say their identity group was portrayed inaccurately. Become.
To emphasize the importance of inclusiveness and authentic representation, consider the disability community’s views on advertisements shown during inclusive programming and advertisements featuring people with disabilities. Communities are 17% more likely to engage with brands when ads are placed within inclusive content.Features people from the disability community2.
And the benefits for brands can mean increased revenue for inclusive content providers and platforms. The brand has spent $738 million on advertising for broadcast and cable programs that include people with disabilities. That’s 7.5% of total advertising spending of $9.9 billion across broadcast and cable during the same period.Four.
The media and entertainment industry has the power to take the lead, raise awareness and drive disability representation by advocating for diversity in all its forms. , greenlighting more projects and encouraging self-identification so studios can find talent to ensure authentic portrayals are some things studios and content creators can take. In a world that continues to fight inequalities and stereotypes, the media have a responsibility to enable disability inclusion.
1Gracenote Inclusion Analytics, Q3 2022
2Gracenote Video Descriptor
3Nielsen’s Attitudes Towards Representatives in Television Studies, April 2022
FourNielsen Advertising Intel, Q3 2022
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