UK pubcaster Channel 4 has set out a six-part plan as part of its effort to be an “anti-racist organization,” including doubling the number of commissions from “BAME-led” independent producers by 2023.
CEO Alex Mahon said in a statement: “The death of George Floyd and the reaction it has caused has highlighted the depth of racism, be it structural or individual, that still confronts Black and minority ethnic people here in the UK, in the United States and elsewhere in the world… As is clear from the testimonies of our Black and minority ethnic colleagues in the industry we are not doing enough and there is not enough progress. Therefore, I want to clearly set out today that Channel 4 is an organization committed to anti-racism and we want to go further in driving positive change within our own organization and in the creative industries.”
The company stated it will use its position as a public service broadcaster to educate its audience on anti-racism through its content and platforms.
It has set a target that 20% of Channel 4 staff and 20% of the top 100 paid staff will be BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) by 2023. The company is currently at 17% of total and 14% of top 100.
“We will launch a new mentoring program for our diverse staff in 2020 so that they can develop their careers,” the company’s plan reads. “We will continue to voluntarily report our BAME pay-gap as we have done since 2019 and we are committed to continuing to narrow it. Channel 4′s BAME pay gap was 15% in March 2020.”
Channel 4 stated it also plans to commission “relevant and authentic content” that reflects the lives of BAME audiences on an “ongoing basis.”
“On the main channel there were eight BAME-led indies commissioned in 2019, and a further 12 were in paid development – in total making up 11% of suppliers,” the pubcaster stated.
Channel 4 has commissioned a series of short films by Black British filmmakers responding to George Floyd’s death and exploring the resonance with Black Britons.
“We are commissioning a series of longer films exploring different aspects of the Black experience and questions about race in modern Britain,” the company stated.
Among other commitments, Channel 4 stated it will drive up “genuine BAME authorship” of its output by increasing the number of Black directors, executives and writers it works with. It plans to also have higher representation than the national average in its on-screen presenters, talent and stars.
“In our last wave our tracking in 2019, our representation was at 14%,” Channel 4 stated. “We are committed to providing new opportunities for diverse new talent across our content and we have a clear strategy to deliver this. We are committed to BAME diversity in our ‘new faces of E4′ talent search which is underway in 2020.”
As part of changes to its supply chain, Channel 4 is launching the BAME-led Indie Accelerator Plan in which each commissioning genre will identify two BAME-led indies to “champion and nurture with a bespoke accelerator plan.”
“We are committed to 50% of our remaining commissioning development spend in 2020 being with BAME-led, Nations & Regions or small indies,” the company stated. “We will continue to be part of the Commissioning Mentoring Network, as part of our effort to grow BAME talent in the industry. We are partnering with The TV Collective to support the BAME creative industry through the COVID-19 crisis.”
Finally, under commitments under its business model, Channel 4′s £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award for 2020 will be focused on BAME representation within advertising.