ViacomCBS U.K. Networks Unit Sets "No Diversity, No Commission" Policy

Maria Kyriacou, president, international at ITV Studios - P 2016
Courtesy of ITV Studios

"Society is now at an inflection point on the issue of systemic racism," says Maria Kyriacou, president, ViacomCBS Networks U.K. & Australia.

ViacomCBS's ViacomCBS Networks U.K. unit unveiled a series of measures designed to strengthen its diversity and inclusion drive and accelerate "diverse representation onscreen, offscreen and within its organization."

The company said Wednesday that it wants to use a values-driven approach to "embed diversity into every aspect of the company's existence."

Among the initiatives are a "no diversity, no commission" content policy for program suppliers and an extension of diversity data monitoring to all its pay TV network brands. The firm will also hire a new executive within its commissioning team who will be responsible for "identifying and developing diverse talent on- and offscreen, at all levels." This new executive will also help launch and run a "New Faces, New Voices" search for diverse onscreen contributors.

ViacomCBS Networks U.K. also committed to creating a "Promotion Opportunity Project," which will identify and support the promotion of ethnic minority talent in the U.K. production sector, particularly among "mid-level freelancers."

The company will further create an Inclusion Board "allying its senior leadership team in the U.K. with its Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)" and provide quarterly reports on its performance.

Plus, a new talent sponsorship program will pair senior leaders with diverse talent "to fuel career advancement and advocacy."

Said Maria Kyriacou, president, ViacomCBS Networks U.K. & Australia: "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. 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. 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."

Added Ben Frow, director of programs at ViacomCBS Networks U.K.: "It is important that we work closely with our production company partners to ensure that they help us to achieve our ambition of being truly reflective of Britain today, both on- and offscreen."