Disney To Produce More LGBTQ+ Content In New Partnership With Equalpride

Haley Kennington

Disney has joined forces with equalpride, an organization dedicated to LGBTQ+ advocacy, to introduce a greater range of LGBTQ+ content to younger viewers, aiming to create “systematic and meaningful change in the end.”

Disney Advertising recently signed development agreements with Group Black, United Masters, Cocina and equalpride.

While some of these collaborations will focus on the amplification of racially diverse casts, others are to call attention to more LGBTQ+ representation in video content.

According to Adweek, Disney Advertising’s Senior VP of Client Partnerships John Campbell said Disney is doing everything in its power to maintain their “commitment to DEI” (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion).

Disney lovers can look forward to even more LGBTQ+ characters taking over roles in classic film reboots, new shows and films. The company also intends to include more diversity, even if it disregards historical accuracy.

Disney Advertising and equalpride together will generate both long-form content and a short-form miniseries that features LBGTQ+ characters and storylines.

While many are familiar with Disney and its recent uptick in the promotion of LGBTQ+ content, they’ve never heard of equalpride.

equalpride was founded in 2022 and is based out of Los Angeles.

The company says on its website it is proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated. According to equalpride’s LinkedIn, they currently have 51 employees.

Their portfolio includes online brands such as OUT, The Advocate, Pride, Out Traveler, Plus, and the Advocate Channel, as well as other material that can be found on video, social media, online print magazines. They’ve also been active in different public events.

The company lists their clients as Hulu, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix and Chase Bank, among many others.

Although it is not specifically stated what equalpride does, the organization’s website indicates they work alongside companies to add LGBTQ+ representation to ad campaigns, television, film and entertainment. They have worked on campaigns with Lexus, McDonald’s, Tommy Hilfiger and H&M.

In a 2021 global survey by Statista, only five percent of the world’s population identified as something other than heterosexual.

However, that number has risen significantly over the last number of years. The largest growth was seen in India and South Africa, with a 22 percent increase from 2013 to 2019.

According to a 2022 Gallup poll, Americans who identify as LGBT have risen to a new high of over seven percent, which has doubled since 2012.

This number almost triples in Gen Z, with 20 percent of this cohort identifying as LGBT.

The equalpride website states that as of January 2023 the company has over 3.5 million combined social media followers.

They also note that as of April 2022, their digital audience is more than 2.3 times more likely to use social media daily.

According to Adweek, “Disney has required multicultural ad buys as part of its upfront negotiations since 2021, and Rita Ferro, the company’s ad sales chief, previously told Adweek that after clients tripled Disney’s overall upfront DEI ask in 2022, the company is challenging them to triple its original ask again this year.”

“We’ve been in the engagement business for 100 years at Disney. And we just want to make sure that we’re engaging with everybody authentically. And that’s really where these partnerships come to life,” said Disney Advertising’s John Campbell.

Statista shows, “In the fiscal year ended on October 1, 2022, The Walt Disney Company generated a total revenue of more than 82.7 billion U.S. dollars, up from 67.4 billion dollars a year earlier – an annual growth of over 22 percent.”

Interestingly, in a recent statement, The Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Iger acknowledged that the LGBT-themed content produced for Disney+ did not result in a significant increase in subscriptions.

“As we grow the business in terms of the global footprint, we realized that we made a lot of content that is not necessarily driving sub growth and we’re getting much more surgical about what it is we make,” Iger said.

President of Global Growth & Development for equalpride, Michael Kelley, noted that a new CDC report showed that 1 in 4 high school students identified as LGBTQ+.

Kelley said that equalpride’s influence will reach far beyond Disney and that he has plans to create more LGBTQ messaging for the media landscape.

“We’re not a monolith. We’re intersectional. I’m almost more excited about working with the folks that are on this call than I am with Disney, maybe equally, because we are going to be much much stronger together,” Kelley said.

“Our qualitative research said that the queer community can identify the brands that don’t like us in unison, but they can’t name the brands in unison that support us. If I’m a CMO, if I’m a brand manager, I am going to absolutely drive a truck through that opportunity,” Kelley said during the recent roundtable discussion with Adweek.

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