Channel 4 Outlines Six-Point Plan to Be an “Anti-Racist Organization”


Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon has set out a new six-point commitment to be a driver of anti-racism in the industry and improve black and minority ethnic representation.

This includes a new creative commitment to double the number of BAME-led independent producers commissioned from by 2023 and commercially, this year’s £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award will be focused on BAME representation in advertising.

She said: “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 U.K., in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

“It has made us question ourselves again about whether we are doing enough to tackle racism, and how we are using our position as a public service broadcaster with diversity in our DNA, to drive positive change in our industry and in society at large.

“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.

“We’re setting out a clear six-point plan for ensuring this is embedded in every part of our activity, on and off-screen. We know this won’t address all the issues, and that the term BAME is imperfect and covers a diversity of different experiences itself, but we are committed to acting on the feedback we get.”

Channel 4 is committed to strive for BAME equity as an employer, with the target that 20 percent of staff and 20 percent of the top 100 paid staff, will be BAME by 2023. Today the organization is at 17 percent of total and 14 percent of top 100. It will also voluntarily report its BAME pay gap as it has done since 2019 and is committed to continuing to narrow it. Channel 4’s BAME pay gap was 15 percent in March 2020.

The new commitment is to double the number of BAME-led independent producers that we commission from by 2023. 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 percent of suppliers.

Channel 4 is also committed to fair BAME representation on screen. It commits to BAME representation being at or higher than the national average in our on-screen presenters, talent and stars. In its last wave our tracking in 2019, representation was at 14 percent. It is committed to providing new opportunities for diverse new talent across our content and we have a clear strategy to deliver this. It is committed to BAME diversity in its “new faces of E4” talent search which is underway in 2020.

The channel is making a new commitment to tracking and reporting content spend with BAME-led independent producers. It will launch a new 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. There’s a commitment to 50 percent of the remaining commissioning development spend in 2020 being with BAME-led, Nations & Regions or small indies.