Media consulting firm, Ormax Media and Entertainment platform, Film Companion released ‘O Womaniya! 2022’, the most definitive report on female representation in Indian Entertainment. The report is supported by Prime Video, India’s most loved entertainment hub. The report highlights on-screen and off-screen representation of women, by analysing 150 theatrical films, streaming films and series released in 2021 across 8 Indian languages. The report received collaboration from multiple entities within the Media and Entertainment industry like the Producers Guild of India and Active Telugu Film Producers Guild, streaming services like hoichoi, SonyLIV, Voot and ZEE5, along with leading film studios like Clean Slate Filmz, Dharma Productions, Emmay Entertainment, Excel Entertainment, Purple Pebble Pictures, RSVP and Sikhya Entertainment.
The report studied the representation and participation of women across three major categories; ‘content’ that included female representation on-screen and behind-the-camera; ‘marketing’ that studied female representation in promotional trailers of films and series, and ‘corporate’ that analysed female representation in board rooms of top 25 media and entertainment firms.
Key findings of the report include:
- Women have low representation behind-the-camera with only 10 pc head of department (HOD) positions across key divisions (production design, writing, editing, direction and cinematography) held by women. Out of the 56 theatrical films analysed across languages, not even one was directed or edited by a woman. Even in media and entertainment corporate houses that are at the center of decision-making, only 10 pc of senior leadership roles were held by women, having a cascading effect on inclusivity through the production and execution chain.
- Only 55 pc of the films and series passed the Bechdel Test. Even in promotional trailers analysed through the Trailer Talk Time Test, women had only 25 pc talk time with 48 titles even allocating 10 seconds or less to female characters.
- The percentage of female HODs doubled when a woman greenlit a series or a film. Similarly, a higher percentage of films passed the Bechdel Test (68 pc) and women had higher trailer talk time (35 pc) if the title was commissioned by a woman.
- Streaming films and series performed better than theatrical films across all parameters indicating the change the sector is ushering in representation on and off-screen. For instance, representation of female HODs in streaming films and series was five times higher than theatrical films. Similarly, 64 pc of streaming series and 55 pc of streaming films passed the Bechdel Test, as opposed to more than half of theatrical films failing it. Likewise, streaming films and series provided more talk time to female characters in trailers, leading theatrical films by 10 percentage points and 14 percentage points respectively.
Speaking about the findings, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder-CEO, Ormax Media, said, “While it’s no surprise that female representation in mainstream entertainment is low, the degree of skew, such as 10:90 on some key parameters, should be a wake-up call. While streaming titles, especially series, are more women-inclusive in on and off-screen representation, theatrical films continue to perform very poorly, and in fact, have shown no positive growth at all since the previous report, which covered content released in 2019 & 2020. We hope that this report serves as a starting point for the industry to come together and discuss ways to address the evident imbalance.”
Anupama Chopra, Founder & Editor, Film Companion, said, “Data is essential to understanding how drastically skewed the gender equation in the Indian film industry is. O Womaniya! provides us with the starting point for discussion and debate. Starting out as an effort by Ormax Media and Film Companion, the initiative has now found resonance with the entire industry. The support that we have received from film bodies, streaming services and studios is heartening. We will continue to build this momentum and hopefully lead the way to change.”