Insights

LGBTQIA+ Diversity in Canadian TV

21 September, 2020

Canada has prioritized diversity as key for cultural representation, but is it also resonating with Canadian audiences? We examined the top 50 most in-demand Canadian shows with new episodes released in the last year in order to evaluate the impact of LGBTQIA+ representations and inclusion on audience demand.

A recent study evidenced that there has been progress in the supply of LGBTQIA+ representation in 2019.

What impact has this progress had on demand for LGBTQIA+ representative series?

Our data reveals there is an opportunity for greater LGBTQIA+ representation. There is more demand than supply of Canadian titles with LGBTQIA+ representation.

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  • Of the top 50 most in-demand series in Canada that released new episodes in the past year, 64% had LGBTQIA+ representation.
  • While this number may sound impressive, these 64% of shows accounted for 74% of demand, indicating unmet demand for more representation.

Not only did the share of diverse shows account for a larger share of demand, the average series with LGBTQIA+ representation had 57% more demand than series without LGBTQIA+ representation.

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This shows that these series are not only more in demand in aggregate, but a Canadian show with LGBTQIA+ representation can be expected to attract more demand than one without representation.

Diversity via representations of minority groups of sexuality and gender are in-demand among Canadian audiences. Representation of diversity can occur on screen via leads or supporting characters as well as behind-the-screen via writers, producers, and directors.

Yet inclusion involves more than representation but authentic portrayals of experiences via the story or plot and the characters.

To compare the impact of diversity and inclusion, we can examine the impacts of increasing LGBTQIA+ representation within in leads, supporting characters, and behind-the-screen creators.

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When looking at the average demand of these top 50 series, we see that the average show with LGBTQIA+ supporting role characters has 53% more demand than those with no representation at all. Adding an LGBTQIA+ actor in a leading role grows demand by a further 27%. When this representation is supported by members of the LGBTQIA+ community off screen there is an additional increase of 170% in the demand. This could be linked to better and more relatable representations in the plot. This means there is an average potential gain in demand of up to 250% with full representation across these elements compared to shows with no representation at all.

Thus, while the majority of Canadian series in this analysis have LGBTQIA+ representation, there is still room for growth. The current analysis reveals that while increasing the number of LGBTQIA+ actors is impactful, combining onscreen representation with LGBTQIA+ representation behind the scenes has the greatest impact.

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