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Nielsen study reveals significant growth of Asian representation on TV in 2021

Nielsen, a global leader in audience measurement, data and analytics, today released its 2022 Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Diverse Intelligence Series report which noted a significant increase in Asian representation on screen in 2021. Across the top 1,500 shows in broadcast, cable and streaming video on demand (SVOD), SVOD led the way with 11% Asian share of screen compared to broadcast (3.2%) and cable (2.7%). The presence of Asian talent in top-rated shows like FBI, Equalizer, and Chicago Med, and the debut of Asian-led programs like FOX’s The Cleaning Lady indicate the industry is responding to growing calls for more Asian-inclusive content.

“The media industry continues to make progress in its inclusive representation of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) characters, themes and narratives,” said Pat Ratulangi, Nielsen’s VP, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “However, that representation on screen is still below the Asian population in the U.S. Now is an important time for the industry to highlight Asian characters, stories and experiences on screen through culturally inclusive programming. Accurate representation on screen can lead to greater understanding, inclusion, engagement and peace off-screen.”

In the last two years, AANHPI representation in streaming has almost doubled from 6.1% in 2020 to 11% in 2021, the report found. This improvement, coupled with Asian American consumers’ growing hunger for more authentic and representative content (two-thirds of Asians still feel there is not enough representation on TV), present an opportunity for more shows that highlight the richness of Asian American experience across platforms.

Overall, Asian representation across broadcast, cable and SVOD increased to 4.6% in 2021 (up from 3.5% in 2020). The report notes a significant improvement in representation in the top 10 most-watched shows on broadcast and cable. In 2021, half of the top 10 programs had some Asian talent representation, compared to 2020 when none of the top 10 most-watched shows did. Asian women were present in three of those shows (NCIS, Equalizer and Yellowstone)  and Asian men were present in two (Chicago Med and FBI).

Other key highlights in the 2022 Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Diverse Intelligence Series include:

  • Streaming programs drove Asian multigenerational co-viewing. Gen Z co-viewing on Netflix was 4.3x higher than audiences overall. On Netflix, for example, 8.4% of Asian American viewers aged 18-24 watched with someone aged 65-74.
  • In 2021, there was a greater diversity of themes in shows with Asian representation — such as friendship, teamwork, and creativity — than in 2020 when the dominant themes were more stereotypical – cerebral, thoughtful, and good.
  • More than half of Asians surveyed said they are more likely to buy from a brand that advertises in shows that feature Asians, creating an incentive for advertisers to engage with this population.
  • A quarter of brands invest just 4% or less in the programs that represent Asians at parity, while the leaders for Asian-inclusive ad spending invest almost 10x as much.

PR Newswire

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