Marketing & Advertising

How Representation Influences Viewership

Overview CES® 2022 exhibitor Samba TV uncovered insights about whether people are more likely to watch shows in which characters look like them and, if so, what this may mean for marketers.

The continuing growth of streaming and TV consumption — particularly since 2020 — offers opportunities for show writers and producers to reach audiences of all backgrounds through storylines that showcase diverse people.

Though diversity in casting has seen improvement in the past few years, there is still plenty of room for growth.

CES® 2022 exhibitor Samba TV took a deep dive into how representation in the most popular shows on TV can influence viewership and what this might mean for marketers everywhere.


No Viewership Without Representation

The Samba TV insights team analyzed the top 50 viewed shows of February 2021 in terms of cast composition and viewership trends. Among the top-billed cast members of these shows, only 24% were non-white, with only 14% featuring a Hispanic lead and 11% featuring an Asian lead.

On the viewership front, the team discovered a positive correlation among households of non-White American members watching programs that had more diverse stars. Findings also indicated a tendency for these same audiences to shy away from shows featuring only an all-White American cast.

“In order to reach key diverse audiences, studios must bear in mind that viewers are more likely to watch shows where they see themselves represented,” wrote Rebecca Fine, associate director of Research & Media Insights at Samba TV.


Female-Led Shows Appeal to All

Samba TV studies in the past two years also found that despite what may be an assumption that female-led programming attracts largely female audiences, viewership for these programs had a near even split between male and female consumers.

Additionally, viewers of all ages have been tuning in to shows with female leads. Households shifting from linear programming to streaming have also been shown to be captured by more female-led programming than other shows.

Samba TV highlighted how this indicates that show marketers and advertisers should not limit the target audience for content that is traditionally considered more “feminine.” By focusing marketing for female-led programming to only female audiences, advertisers are leaving out many potential viewers.


With these data-driven insights, Samba TV underscores that diversity and inclusion in entertainment is beyond a logical and moral imperative; it’s but a strong business decision.

“With data, we can shatter bias and prejudice, achieving more equitable investment in programming that resonates with the audience,” said Samba TV CEO Ashwin Navin in a LinkedIn post.


Interested in exhibiting at CES 2022 alongside Samba TV? Contact the CES sales team to learn more about opportunities, including private meeting space.


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