Black and brown communities make up a large percentage of streaming customers. The novel coronavirus caused many of them to stay indoors. This caused a surge in the overall use of streaming services. Although these communities make up a large portion of their consumer-based numbers, the question of their representation on these streaming platforms has come to the forefront.
According to Statista, the share of Hispanics that use audio streaming services as of 2018, was put at 45 percent. That same report stated that the share of Hispanics with a smart TV was listed at 61 percent. African Americans, according to a 2019 report by Nielsen, are leaders in media consumption. Nielsen’s It’s In The Bag: Black Consumers’ Path to Purchase, highlight some startling statistics.
African Americans own the top spot in using the Youtube app at 79 percent. Another key finding in the study stated that 65 percent of Black adults use Facebook.
The effort from these companies has made headlines in recent months due to issues involving police brutality and the celebration of Black history month. Netflix set an example for other streaming services to follow by using their platform to tweet something that went viral among Twitter users.
The tweet was later followed by Hulu, and Amazon Prime, each tweeting their own support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Following the highlighted awareness of police brutality in wake of the officer-involved killings of George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, Netflix created a Black Lives Matter category where according to Bazar in their article, Netflix Introduces Black Lives Matter Category, Netflix moved to “highlighting works celebrating Black lives and highlighting the racial injustices they face.”
Additionally, the major streaming service has the ability to search the category Latin American Movies & TV that houses all of the content that caters to Hispanic and Latino viewers.
Additionally, the public effort of these streaming services has made on their platforms is followed by the representation they hold on their platforms for both black and brown communities in wake of a recent surge in usage.
According to The Verge the world is streaming more content than ever before. Statistics published by Statista have shown a 50-70% increase in streaming subscribers in the month of March alone. The question arises of how much of their services are catered towards black and brown users, considering they make up a large portion of the subscription base?
Meanwhile, Hulu has the Latino Hub which is a searchable tab that holds content catered to the Latino and Hispanic viewership, while Black Stories have a series of educational content to highlight the representation of Black culture.
As for their conglomerate partner, Disney+ – the lack of Black and brown representation has been at the forefront of conversation due to the lack of face view representation on their platforms.
The article, “Will Disney+ Add Black History Collection?” touched on the question at hand for Black communities saying, “While it’s unlikely Disney+ would ever have the depth of other platforms on these issues, especially since audiences often look to Disney films for ‘escapism,’ Disney could take two steps to utilize their rich tradition of storytelling in helping families navigate current tensions.”
Additionally, Disney was also under fire for the attempt to trademark Dia De Los Muertos in 2013, ahead of their 2017 film release for Coco making a view on Disney’s efforts to be inclusive to Latino communities harder to accept by some viewers.
Juan Castillo, writer for the Left Voice online website said this in an article published in response to the film, “The fact that Coco is a beautiful film should not stop us from recognizing capitalist appropriation of Mexican traditions.”
The popular streaming services, which are at the forefront of their respective fields have made recent efforts to highlight the representation of these communities in the content they stream on their platforms, but there is a long way to go as the demand for POC representation is in growing demand.
Feature image of Phillip Johnson Richardson and Brittany O’Grady in “Little Voice,” now streaming on Apple TV+, ?appears courtesy of AppleTV+