Climate Change in Entertainment
The Media Impact Project was commissioned by Good Energy to study how often climate change content has appeared in recent scripted TV and film, along with audience appetites for stories about the climate crisis.
We analyzed scripts from 37,453 TV episodes and films that aired in the US media market between 2016 and 2020, finding only 2.8% mentioned any of 36 climate-related keywords. A full report of findings will be released in the summer of 2022.
Our survey of 2,000 Americans found most are hard pressed to even name a fictional TV or film addressing the climate crisis beyond the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow. However, those who are most alarmed about climate change tend to also be more hopeful about solutions, and those who are hopeful are 3.5 times more likely to say they want to see these stories in fictional entertainment.
Extrapolations: the Impact Study
Extrapolations is Apple TV+'s new groundbreaking anthology series about the life-altering choices that must be made in a changing climate. In partnership with Rare and Good Energy, we will measure the impact of this important series in the first quantitative study of a major scripted climate storyline in nearly two decades.
Flip the Script: Plastics in Hollywood
Our research team examined 32 popular television shows from the 2019-2020 season in the first-ever analysis of the portrayal and prevalence of single-use plastics and reusable alternatives in popular scripted television shows. We found them awash in single-use plastics, with an average of 28 items per episode. The research was supported by the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
2022 Earth Week Celebration
Media Impact Project Research Director Erica Rosenthal shares our ongoing research activities at the annual USC Earth Week Celebration. You can watch the online presentation hosted by USC President Carol Folt and featuring a diverse group of sustainability champions from across the Trojan Family as they present the breadth of initiatives driving USC’s sustainability agenda.
The Norman Lear Center's Media Impact Project researches how entertainment and news influence our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, knowledge and actions. We work with researchers, the film and TV industry, nonprofits, and news organizations, and share our research with the public. We are part of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.