Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity helps shape ITV’s new £80m equity drive

Birmingham City University’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity has helped ITV develop plans to improve racial equity and disability equity in its programming content.

 

The broadcaster has just announced plans to reserve £80m of its content commissioning budget over the next three years on a new diversity drive, with at least £20m of the total reserved for content made by Black, Asian and minority ethnic-led and disabled-led production companies.

ITV has also created a new £500k development fund to develop ideas that will qualify for the Diversity Commissioning Fund.

Complementing similar initiatives by the BBC and Channel 4 and developed in consultation with BCU’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre, ITV’s Diversity Commissioning Fund is designed to drive lasting change across the sector. With this £80m commitment over three years, ITV is significantly increasing its annual spend on diverse content.

Launched in March 2020, BCU’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity (LHC) is a research centre bringing together the expertise of established media professionals and academics. In addition to its work with ITV, the Centre has also produced research into black representation in UK documentaries, a report on the use of and responses to BAME terminology for the BBC and the Black to Front report for Channel 4 to help to increase Black representation on all shows.

Commenting of ITV’s new diversity fund, Marcus Ryder from Birmingham City University’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity said:

ITV dedicating programme finance for television productions that meet set criteria to positively increase diversity and inclusion is an important development. The Lenny Henry Centre is happy to have been consulted in the process, and if implemented fully we see this as a vital policy tool in any broadcaster’s efforts to increase representation of underrepresented groups in production.
Marcus Ryder, Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity

To qualify for the ITV fund, productions must meet either the first criteria, or two of the remaining criteria:

Diverse company ownership or leadership – senior individuals in company ownership or leadership roles (including through co-production partnerships) involved in shaping creative or operational strategy within the production company (e.g. Managing Director, Creative Director) must be Black, Asian or minority ethnic and/or disabled.
Diverse creative leadership – at least two individuals in senior creative decision-making roles off-screen involved in shaping and making the programme (e.g. writer, producer, director) must be Black, Asian or minority ethnic and/or disabled.
Diverse stories and portrayal on-screen – subject matter and stories are from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic and/or disabled perspective, and/or starring Black, Asian or minority ethnic or disabled actors in lead roles.
Diverse salary spend – at least 20% of total salary spend off-screen on the production must be on Black, Asian or minority ethnic and/or disabled creatives.
Ade Rawcliffe, ITV’s Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion, explained the new initiative:

“ITV is committed to creating content by, with, and for everyone, connecting and reflecting modern audiences. We want more people of colour and disabled people to be able to tell their stories and get opportunities in senior production roles. With this reserve fund, we’re working to speed up progress in a sustainable way and play our part to change the structure of the industry.”

 

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