ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), has announced a company-wide production policy: “No Diversity, No Commission,” requiring all new international productions to be made by a diverse team.

The policy will apply to VCNI’s business across five continents and more than 180 countries. “No Diversity, No Commission,” was initially launched by ViacomCBS Networks UK in July and 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 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.”

VCNI has also committed to initiatives to increase authentic on-screen representation and inclusive storytelling: ‘Global Content, Diverse Voices’  will see the company identify global, scripted content that “elevates underrepresented cultures,” across both Youth & Entertainment and Kids & Family brands. Alongside that, ‘Elevating Diverse Creators’ willmean that in Latin America, 25 percent of ViacomCBS International Studios’ budget will be allocated to the education and development of projects by BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) creators.  And VCNI’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asian division has also committed to dedicating 30% 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 Vice President, 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,” said Kerry Taylor, Executive Vice President, 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 in our journey.”

Jon Creamer