ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) is introducing a company-wide “No Diversity, No Commission” policy across more than 180 countries, after the mandate was first introduced in its U.K. operations in July.
The policy requires production companies to adhere to diversity guidelines before budgets are signed off and productions are approved to begin. Once budgets have been set, the commissioner or project lead will check for appropriate diversity and recommend improvements as needed. The policy also aims to increase representation behind the camera.
“Expanding ‘No Diversity, No Commission’ to our entire international organization is an important strategic move for VCNI,” said David Lynn, CEO and president VCNI. “ViacomCBS Networks International creates and distributes content to audiences all over the world. This approach will ensure that we are both reflecting our audience, as well as elevating new diverse creative voices. Change requires thorough research, careful planning, and immense care, and we’re looking forward to creating impactful, sustainable change through the power of our networks, partnerships, platforms and brands.”
As part of its inclusion strategy, VCNI has unveiled two further initiatives: identifying global scripted content that elevates underrepresented cultures across its youth and entertainment and kids’ and family brands; and, in LatAm, setting aside 25 percent of ViacomCBS International Studios’ budget for the education and development of projects by BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) creators. VCNI’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asian division has also committed to dedicating 30 percent of its budget in 2021 produce stories focused on or related to underrepresented groups and issues.
“Audiences around the world, particularly younger generations and kids, are becoming more and more diverse in composition, outlook and perspectives, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that our content reflects the world in which our audiences live,” said Jules Borkent, executive VP of kids and family at VCNI. “Our research tells us very clearly that kids want to see themselves reflected on-screen. By launching ‘No Diversity, No Commission’ across our international brands, we are able to ensure that the shows and characters we create continue to reflect kids today and tomorrow.”
“Diversity, inclusion and equity need to be at the heart of everything we do within our brands and our business,” said Kerry Taylor, executive VP of youth and entertainment. “We are committed to doing better, to making progress in this area, and using our platforms to shine a light on the talent, voices and stories that need to be seen and heard. No diversity, no commission is an important step in our journey.”