ViacomCBS Networks UK (VCN UK) has outlined a series of new measures set to strengthen the mediaco’s diversity and inclusion drive in the UK.
The company says it will make transparency and accountability central components of its inclusion strategy and will look to accelerate diverse representation on-screen, off-screen and throughout its organization.
To achieve this, VCN UK will commit to a range of initiatives while also building on its existing UK diversity and inclusion program.
New initiatives include implementing a “no diversity, no commission” content policy for its program suppliers and extending the Creative Diversity Network’s Diamond diversity data while monitoring its pay-TV brands, in addition to Channel 5; and hiring for a new role within its commissioning team that will be responsible for developing diverse on- and off-screen talent.
Other initiatives include the launch of a new “Promotion Opportunity Project” that will identify and support the promotion of Black, Asian, minority ethnic and other underrepresented groups (BAME) throughout the UK, and a new BAME talent sponsorship program aimed at fueling career advancement and advocacy.
ViacomCBS will also implement a raft of measures to embed inclusion into its strategy and leadership decisions. As such, the UK media conglomerate plans to create an Inclusion Board that will consist of its senior leadership team and its Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to provide quarterly reports focused on performance.
In addition, VCN UK will strengthen its focus on recruitment, retention and progression strategies to “improve representation at all levels,” while also evolving its internship scheme to offer entry and mid-level positions that can be fast tracked into leadership roles.
VCN UK will also commit to voluntarily publishing its Ethnicity Pay Gap report in the UK on an annual basis.
“Society is now at an inflection point on the issue of systemic racism and as individuals, as a company, we all have a part to play in righting centuries of wrongs,” said Maria Kyriacou (pictured), president at ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia in a statement. “For too long the TV industry has been a relative closed shop and if we are to be of continued relevance to the audiences that we serve, then this must change.
Kyriacou added: “Diversity and inclusion is a core company value, yet hearing from our employees over the course of the past few weeks, we know that we can and we must do more to increase representation at all levels. Our commitment to this cannot be overstated. While this raft of new measures is intended to accelerate change, it is by no means a lone stake in the ground. Instead it is a re-emphasis of a strategy that will continue to evolve in the coming weeks, months and years ahead.”