Univision’s “Storytelling Unbound”

At the end of 2017, Univision Communications, Inc. announced the results of a consumer attitude survey it conducted as part of its strategic initiative to close the diversity gap in entertainment. The “Storytelling Unbound” research project was national in scope and surveyed approximately 2,000 film and TV consumers, consisting largely of adults 18-49 years of age that included participants of Hispanic, African-American and Asian backgrounds.

The study was part of Univision’s “Project Unbound” whose underlying mission was to close the diversity gap in entertainment by raising awareness around existing disparities while providing solutions. The initiative also focused on creating and celebrating content, representative of today’s America while at the same time developing and supporting emerging storytellers.

According to the study, inclusive storytelling was one of the key concerns in the sample demographics, particularly with the 18-34 audience. The sampled audience believed that the progress that had been made was much better than the current state of storytelling. In fact, 49% of respondents felt good about the progress of representation, while 38% felt good about current TV shows represented in both plot and casting.

The study further revealed that the primary issue that respondents felt were needed to be addressed were related to racial stereotypes, tropes and typecasting. In fact, 40% of respondents chose these issues as areas of leading concerns. Respondents also indicated that while the celebrity pool was diversifying, only 22% of names selected as “top-of-the-mind” were minorities, but that number rose to 33% for some of the biggest names of the future.

Univision has been working diligently at representative storytelling since its inception in 1962. Today, they are encouraging the entertainment community to share in their commitment to diversify the industry. “Project Unbound” truly represents the network’s effort to move the media industry towards real representation and inclusivity. Women and minorities still remain underrepresented across all major aspects of entertainment and Univision has been working to increase diversity within its networks in order to ensure better outcomes that represent the Hispanic diaspora.

It is expected that Univision will release the “Storytelling Unbound” Handbook this summer and will include best practices focused on inclusive storytelling behind and in front of the camera. It will also feature the experiences of Univision executives, academics and entertainment industry groups.