Saturday, September 21, 2019

Media Merger Opens Opportunity to Increase Diversity

In an attempt to merge their two entities, the cable giant Comcast and NBC/Universal have pledged to create more opportunities for minorities in front of and behind the camera.

Testifying at a field hearing in Los Angeles, representatives from both companies outlined their plans.

Comcast will add two independently owned and operated cable networks to its system annually for the next three years as part of the merger agreement; at least half of these networks will “have substantial ownership by minorities.”

NBC Universal, which also owns Telemundo, is engaged in what it calls a “major effort” to find minority buyers for KWHY-TV, a Spanish-language television station in Los Angeles that they are selling.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee which convened the hearing, criticized both companies for poor records of hiring minorities and for the lack of shows on the NBC network that are aimed at African Americans.  She also referred to a National Hispanic Media Coalition report that gave both low marks on a number of issues.

In 2008, a report from the NAACP said there was a “serious shortage of minority faces in primetime (TV),” although they did report gains in reality TV.

If the merger is approved, Comcast and NBC/Universal have pledged to establish “four external “Diversity Advisory Councils,” representative of African-American, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander and other communities, that will meet at least two times per year with Comcast and NBC Universal execs, including an annual meeting with Comcast’s chairman and chief executive officer.”

The  Hispanic Media Coalition, the National Coalition of African-American Owned Media and the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers were expected to testify at last Friday’s hearing.

Read the full article at:

Variety