Building on the progress made in recent years in partnership with DiversifyTV, the board will assemble ahead of MIPCOM 2018 to create an amplified diversity programme for the October event.
“It’s 2018 – why are we still having this conversation?” asked board member Bunmi Akintonwa, managing director, The Little Black Book. “TV is more powerful than we give it credit for. Each screen is a mirror. If you’re a little girl and you constantly see beautiful people but none of them looks like you – you don’t feel pretty. If you’re disabled and you don’t see anyone like you being a detective or even winning a gameshow – it seems impossible.”
DiversifyTV member and TV executive Sahar Baghery added: “Gathering a board of people from different countries, origins, social backgrounds and companies is crucial for building a dynamic and prolific strategic plan.
“I am a young, French-Moroccan-Iranian woman of 35,” Baghery said. “In my personal life, I am constantly surrounded by people with diverse backgrounds, different origins. However, the more I climb the ladders professionally, the more inequalities strike me. I believe my voice needs to help represent other voices.”
“The most pressing issue for me is that the audience now has much more choice than ever before and are voting with their feet. If they don’t see content relevant to them and representing them, they will go elsewhere,” said David Cornwall, managing director, Scorpion Television, who has also joined the board.
The recent success of Black Panther is a case in point, according to David Ellender, president, global distribution and co-productions Sonar Entertainment.
“Panther has become the highest grossing film made by an African American and continues to break global box office records – to many this was unthinkable,” Ellender said.
“Not only is this a long overdue embrace of diversity and representation, it’s a film that actually has something to say and is able to do so without stepping away from the superhero dynamic that makes the larger franchise work so successfully.”
Other confirmed board members include Sean Cohan of A&E and Nick Smith, SVP format international production, All3Media.
This article was written by Isobel Lee for MIPTV News magazine, and edited by Kristine Clifford. Read the full version here!