ViacomCBS expands diversity policy

By Content Nigeria reporter
October 15, 2020


ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) is expanding its ‘No Diversity, No Commission’ policy in the UK to make it a company-wide initiative in more than 180 countries.

David Lynn

ViacomCBS Networks UK revealed a series of measures to strengthen its diversity and inclusion efforts, including the diverse content policy, in July.

In future, all new international productions will have to be made by a diverse team, with the policy applying to VCNI’s business across five continents and more than 180 countries.

VCNI includes brands such as Network 10 in Australia, Channel 5 in the UK, Telefe in Argentina, Viacom 18 in India, ViacomCBS International Studios, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Network and Pluto TV.

The policy will require production companies to adhere to diversity guidelines before budgets are signed off and productions are approved to begin.

When budgets are agreed, the commissioner or project lead will check for appropriate diversity and recommend improvements as needed.

Additionally, the policy will increase representation behind the camera to ensure that a variety of balanced, diverse voices are involved in all areas of production.

“Expanding No Diversity, No Commission to our entire international organisation is an important strategic move for VCNI,” said David Lynn, CEO and president VCNI.

Kerry Taylor

“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.”

VCNI has also committed to a number of initiatives to increase authentic on-screen representation and inclusive storytelling.

The company will identify global, scripted content that elevates underrepresented cultures, across both youth and entertainment and kids and family brands.

In Latin America, 25% of ViacomCBS International Studios’ budget will be allocated to the education and development of projects by BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Colour) creators.

In addition, VCNI’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asian division has committed to dedicating 30% of its budget in 2021 to 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 at VCNI Kids & Family.

“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,” added Kerry Taylor, executive VP at VCNI Youth & 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 on our journey.”

The international launch of this policy and the company’s upcoming initiatives follow ViacomCBS’s Global Inclusion Week, which included more than 100 virtual sessions featuring diversity, equity and inclusion experts, talent, thought leaders, creators and executives focused on promoting diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging.

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