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SDIN release Everyone Counts Report

The Screen Diversity and Inclusion Network (SDIN) has released preliminary results from the inaugural The Everyone Project survey which measures diversity on and off screen in Australia’s TV and film industry.

The SDIN is a network of Australian broadcasters (including SBS, ABC, 7, 9 and 10), streamers, screen funding agencies including Screen Australia, guilds and industry bodies working together to create a more inclusive screen industry.

Launched in 2019, SDIN’s The Everyone Project is an online tool that aims to capture the diversity of all cast and crew working in the Australian screen industry by allowing screen productions to register and complete a voluntary demographic survey.

Industry participation in its first year was encouraging, with a response rate of more than 40% of cast and crew on registered productions completing the survey. As The Everyone Project enters its second year, the SDIN is encouraging all Australian screen productions to register and help grow the pool of diversity data.

SDIN Co-Chair and SBS Content Industry Diversity Manager Michelle Cheng said, “The SDIN is excited to launch Australia’s first glimpse into the diversity of our TV and film sector, to help us work towards benchmarking representation and better understand areas where our industry needs to improve. We hope these figures will spark conversation that can lead to meaningful action, so cast and crew in the screen sector will increasingly represent all Australians, including people who have traditionally been under-represented in the media.”

SDIN Co-Chair and Head of Indigenous at ABC TV Kelrick Martin said, “The release of the inaugural The Everyone Project report is a significant milestone for diversity and inclusion in our industry. I’m proud of the continued dedication and commitment demonstrated by both the SDIN membership and the Australian screen sector so far, and The Everyone Project will now become a regular gauge of how well we’re meeting our community’s expectations. It’s the first step in a long journey ahead for all of us.”

Screen Australia will be releasing its diversity report Seeing Ourselves next year which will analyse the main characters in Australian scripted TV drama and narrative comedy from 2016 to 2021 that was first released on television and agency funded streaming and online content. This report will serve as a companion piece to The Everyone Project to help inform the sector about on screen representation.

Key preliminary findings from SDIN’s Everyone Counts Report included:

  • First Nations people were well-represented in on-screen roles (6.6%) compared to the population benchmark (3.2%),1 but less so among crew (3.0%)

Room to increase representation in off-screen roles aligns with previous research which has found under-representation of First Nations people among producers of TV drama, and in film and TV camera departments, as well as a skills gap for First Nations people in off-stage roles in the performing arts.

  • People with disability were vastly under-represented compared to the population benchmark (17.7%), both on screen (8.9%) and behind the camera (5.3%)

These results align with findings from the UK where increasing disability representation is a screen industry priority. Under-representation of people with disability has also been reflected in previous Australian research on main characters in TV drama and the camera workforce, and in New Zealand and US screen industry research.

  • Women’s overall representation (50.6%) aligned with the population benchmark (50.7%) however, we know from other research that many screen industry roles remain gendered

For example, previous research has found under-representation of women in writing, directing, camera, sound and lighting; and over-representation of women in set design, costume, hair and make-up.

  • LGBQA+ people had strong representation compared to the population benchmark (11%), both on screen (17.3%) and off (18.1%)

This aligns with findings about the diversity of the Australian camera workforce and screen industry research from the UK and US.

  • Overall, people from Asian backgrounds were under-represented (9.0%), and people from European (38.0%) and Anglo-Celtic backgrounds (59.0%) were over-represented compared to population benchmarks (18.2%, 19.9% and 51.9% respectively).

Under-representation of people from Asian backgrounds has also been found in screen industry research in the US, New Zealand and the UK, particularly highlighting under-representation in off-screen roles.

The Everyone Counts report is available on the SDIN website here. For more information about The Everyone Project and to register your screen production visit The Everyone Project website here.

1 Where possible in The Everyone Project, population benchmarks are based on ABS Census 2021 data. Since the Everyone Counts report was prepared, the ABS has provided an updated population estimate of 3.8% for First Nations people, adjusted for Census undercount. ABS 2022, Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2021.