UK broadcaster ITV has outlined plans to “accelerate change in diversity and inclusion” on- and off-screen across the mediaco’s operations by creating opportunities for “Black, Asian, minority ethnic and other underrepresented groups” (BAME).
For the next 12 months, the company says it will increase investment in diversity and inclusion and deliver “measurable changes.”
The plan, which comprises five key areas of action, came from “extensive” discussions over the past few weeks with ITV’s leadership team and Embrace, its network for BAME colleagues, and the company’s Inclusion and Diversity Council, which brings together the chairs of ITV’s staff networks.
First, ITV has created the new role of group diversity and inclusion director.
The new director will sit on the management board and report to CEO Carolyn McCall. They will lead and coordinate all diversity and inclusion initiatives and oversee and drive ITV’s “financial and operational performance” against the company’s strategy. An appointment is expected to be made in the next few weeks.
ITV is also committing to increase diversity of presenters across its programs as well as lead actors in dramas by “backing and supporting” BAME talent to “land lead roles.”
As part of its plan to improve diversity and career progression in TV production, ITV’s Set Up 60 program will offer at least 60 people the chance to secure their first senior editorial and production roles — including directing, writing or producing episodes of ITV’s new and returning drama, factual and entertainment shows.
Recruitment efforts include the creation of up to 20 new opportunities in middle management and 40 new apprenticeships. ITV says it will advertise all permanent roles externally across a wide range of portals to attract a “diverse pool of candidates,” and use a variety of “candidate selection and assessment tools to reduce unconscious bias.”
Finally, the plan includes mandatory race and inclusion training for all staff and on-screen presenters and commentators and inclusive leadership training for all managers.
ITV will also set up a the Race Forward development program, designed to enable “minority ethnic talent progression and inclusive culture change.”
The company stated it will report on the progress of each commitment annually.
ITV is also establishing a Cultural Advisory Council, a group of independent external advisers who will “advise, challenge and counsel ITV” on the diversity and inclusion commitments.
The new group diversity and inclusion director will lead and coordinate all of these activities through a series of action plans which will be developed and delivered by teams across ITV.
Each division will publish its targets and results and all managers will have “diversity and inclusion objectives” as part of bonus criteria. ITV’s management board and commissioning editors have this already.
McCall said in a statement: “This moment is an important catalyst. Currently around 22% of those seen on ITV come from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background. Within ITV, 12.5% of our people identify as having a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background. These figures reflect the commitment of people at ITV to make change… We want a culture where everyone feels comfortable being themselves and we will listen actively to the lived experiences of colleagues so that we continue to build a fully inclusive culture. I know that everyone across ITV will put their weight and energy behind making that happen.”
In other ITV news, Arjan Pomper (pictured) has been appointed chief operating officer of global entertainment at ITV Studios.
In the new role, Pomper will oversee the day-to-day operations of the format sales, global content and production and global music and talent agency divisions.
He joins ITV Studios from media company Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) Belgium, where he served as CEO for almost two years.
Previously, Pomper served as CEO of DAN Netherlands, Middle East and Africa from 2009 to 2013.
Prior to that, he worked at Universal McCann and co-founded various media companies including AMPN, a content and production company in Sub Saharan Africa.
Pomper’s appointment completes the senior management team for Global Entertainment, ITV Studios, consisting of Kim Dingler as chief commercial officer and Maarten Meijs as president. Pomper will report to Meijs.