Netflix has announced the launch of a $100 million fund aimed at supporting the next generation of storytellers from underrepresented communities.
With the goal of expanding opportunities for underrepresented creators, producers, writers, and directors to have their voices heard, the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity will invest $100 million over the next five years in organizations with a strong track record of setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries, as well as Netflix programs designed to identify, train, and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent.
A report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that between 2018 and 2019, the composition of on- and off-screen talent working on Netflix films and series improved on nineteen out of twenty-two indicators of inclusion. According to the report, for the two-year period Netflix outpaced the industry in hiring women directors (27.7 percent), women of color directors (6.2 percent for films, 5.9 percent for series), and women creators (29.8 percent); achieved gender equality in leading roles (52 percent female); and exceeded proportional representation of Black leads and co-leads (15.2 percent) and main casts (19.5 percent). The study also found notable representation gaps, however, for Latinx, Middle Eastern/North African, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ communities, as well as individuals with disabilities. Netflix plans to work with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to publish a report every two years through 2026.
"We are still in the early stages of a major change in storytelling — where great stories can truly come from anywhere, be created by anyone, whatever their background, and be loved everywhere," wrote Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a blog post. "And by better understanding how we are doing, we hope to stimulate change not just at Netflix but across our industry more broadly."