BBC spent $53m on inclusive content, on track to hit diversity pledge

Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star

The BBC spent £44m ($53m) on 67 programmes last year as part of its efforts to improve diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera.

The UK pubcaster said that its investment puts it on track to hit its £112m commitment to commission diverse and inclusive content by 2023/24, with £100m pledged to TV programming and £12m to radio.

The figures were revealed in the BBC’s first Diversity Commissioning Code of Practice Progress Report and comes after the corporation made its Creative Diversity Commitment following the Black Lives Matter protests.

The BBC said that following the first year of the commitment, new content was produced by 48 different independent production companies, with 73% of those companies having diverse leadership and 10% had never been commissioned by the BBC before this year. In addition, £4m has been invested in supporting 90 diverse radio commissions.

The corporation highlighted some of the diverse TV programming it has produced in the past year including BBC Three’s Tonight With Target, drama Then Barbara Met Alan, Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star and documentary This Girl’s Changed.

All programmes that qualified for the financial investment met at least two of the following three criteria: diverse stories and portrayals; diverse production leadership or diverse company leadership.

The financial investment is supported by a new expectation from the BBC that for all new commissions since April 2021, production companies should recruit 20% of their production teams from under-represented groups.

June Sarpong, BBC director of creative diversity, said: “The BBC is for everyone and audiences from all backgrounds rightly expect to see themselves represented in our programmes. That’s why we are leading the way by making the biggest financial investment to on-air inclusion in the industry.

“I’m delighted by the progress we’ve made in the first year which is an important milestone and provides a solid foundation for us to go even further to ensure the BBC truly reflects the public we serve.”

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