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ITV and Channel 4 have both unveiled details of ringfenced funds designed to diversify their supplier base and on-screen representation.

ITV has committed £80m of its content budget to fund diverse commissions, with at least £20m going to shows made by diverse-led production companies, while Channel 4 has unveiled its multi-million Diverse Indie Fund for returning shows, in partnership with Motion Content Group.


Alongside its Diverse Commissioning Fund, ITV has also set up a £500,000 development fund for ideas that qualify for the funding, which was developed in consultation with the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

According to Diamond data, ITV has 14.2% off-screen and 17.5% on-screen representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic creatives, and 4.5% off-screen and 9.6% on-screen representation of disabled creatives.

Group director of diversity and inclusion Ade Rawcliffe said the initiative marks ITV’s commitment to create authentic content that connects and reflects modern audiences.

“We want more people of colour and disabled people to be able to tell their stories and get opportunities in senior production roles. With this reserve fund, we’re working to speed up progress in a sustainable way, and play our part to change the structure of the industry.”

ITV recently invited submissions for a new documentary strand, Fresh Cuts, which will showcase emerging Black film-makers with a series of contemporary documentaries for Black History Month, building on dedicated shows aired over the past few years fronted by the likes of Ashley Banjo, and Charlene White.

Qualifying factors

To qualify for this development fund, indies must either have:

  • Black, Asian or minority ethnic and/or disabled people in senior leadership roles such as managing director or creative director;

Or at least two of the following criteria:

  • Two or more people in creative decision-making roles such as writer, producer or director from a diverse background;
  • Subject matter and stories from a diverse perspective, and/or with BAME or disabled actors in lead roles;
  • Diverse creatives accounting for at least 20% of total off-screen salary spend

Overseen by senior commissioning editor Vivienne Molokwu and managed by Motion Content Group’s head of diversity, equality and inclusion Deep Sehgal, Channel 4’s Diverse Indies Fund aims to build on last year’s Black to Front initiative with ‘creatively exciting, entertaining and returnable’ ideas and create a pipeline of new talent.

For an indie to qualify, at least 25% of shareholders must be from an ethnically-diverse background and its revenues must be under £10m (scripted) or £5m (unscripted).

Molokwu said the initiative is designed to “supercharge” its diversification ambitions by increasing the hours it commissions from ethnically diverse-led indies.

Specifically, it is calling for:

  • Returnable formats to air opposite the soaps at 8pm midweek
  • Shows for the midweek 10pm slot aimed at younger audiences, like First Dates and Naked Attraction
  • ‘Easy entertainment’ for 16-34 year-olds at 11pm on Fridays
  • Specialist factual and features for 7-9pm on Saturdays
  • Character-driven factual series with a ‘constant churn’ of stories for young audiences at 10pm on E4

Applications for the brief close on 22 April

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