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BBC spends over £128 million on diverse radio, TV content

The British broadcaster says the amount exceeded its original three-year goal of £112 million.

The British broadcaster says the amount exceeded its original three-year goal of £112 million.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) says it exceeded a three-year financial goal to spend a set amount of money ensuring its radio and television content reflected a range of diverse individuals and voices.

The goal outlined in the BBC’s Creative Diversity Commitment originally called for the broadcaster to spend at least £112 million (around $145 million) on diversity in radio and TV programming between 2021 and 2024.

On Wednesday, officials at the BBC said they’ve spent a total of £128.5 million (around $167 million) on fostering diversity, equality and inclusiveness in its shows and live events.

The effort includes diversity in hiring for cast and crew members who produce content for the BBC, with the majority of the cash earmarked for television shows and events. At least £12 million (about $15.5 million) is set aside for radio programs.

“I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made through our Creative Diversity commitment, which is making a real difference in improving diversity off-screen and ensuring what audiences experience on-screen and on-air is more diverse, inclusive and authentic,” Chinny Okolidoh, a BBC director in charge of the company’s diversity and inclusiveness strategy, said in a statement.

Okolidoh called the £112 million diversity budget a “starting point” and not a hard limit on the amount of money the BBC can spend as it continues to pursue its inclusiveness goals.

A production staff member works with actors on the set of the BBC One program "Waterloo Road." (Photo courtesy Rope Ladder Fiction, furnished by BBC)
A production staff member works with actors on the set of the BBC One program “Waterloo Road.” (Photo courtesy Rope Ladder Fiction, furnished by BBC)

“There is still more to do across the whole industry, and we’re working with other broadcasters and streamers to make a positive difference,” Okolidoh said. She continued: “Diversity and inclusion is an absolute priority for the BBC, and we’re fully committed to reflecting our audiences and improving representation, inclusion and accessibility even further across our content.”

Part of the money is used to support the Diverse Talent Development Fund, which offers £2 million (around $2.58 million) annually to help foster on-screen and off-camera diversity initiatives among studios that produce content for the BBC. To date, the fund has helped more than 150 programs, the BBC said.

The BBC is also extending an indie production fund to include radio programs, with a £250,000 (around $323,000) commitment this year.

The full diversity report as released by the BBC on Wednesday is available to download by clicking or tapping here.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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