Comcast-owned pay TV operator Sky has underlined its commitment to diversity, with U.K. content boss Zai Bennett expanding on the £30 million ($39 million) earmarked over the next three years for diversity training and improving Black and minority ethnic representation at all levels.
Sky has targets in place to measure progression of under-represented groups throughout the organization. “For me, the construct of the targets is really important,” said Bennett, speaking as part of the Edinburgh TV Festival on Monday. “I find them a really helpful way of driving what we’re doing. However, I don’t think we’ve done as well as we possibly can; we will always be open and report about the targets, so that we do that much more.”
Bennett said Sky is also currently reviewing its commissioning process with checks and balances in place to deliver these targets. Sky will add disability and gender to the diversity target and an announcement is due soon, added Bennett. “We need to get on with that.”
Sky’s director of factual Poppy Dixon said the org is looking for more diverse stories. “That doesn’t need to be necessarily stories about race or racial injustice,” Dixon said. “It can also be stories that happen to have a more diverse group of people in them and that’s obviously race, gender, disability, everything.”
Sky has had a solid relationship with HBO, which has seen co-productions such as “Chernobyl” and “The Young Pope” emerge in recent years. The pact continues with upcoming six-parter “The Third Day,” starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris, which was teased during the Edinburgh panel. Three episodes of the series — which center on the different experiences of a man and woman who arrive at a mysterious island — feature Law’s point of view and the remaining three on Harris’. “In between that, we’re going to do a live piece of immersive theater on Sky Arts, which link the two together, a sort of first in the drama world,” said Bennett.
Elsewhere, Dixon also revealed five new Sky original documentaries, starting with “Let Me Take You Down,” an investigation into the murder of John Lennon with in-depth access to his killer, Mark Chapman, that is expected to be ready in time for the musician’s 40th death anniversary in December.
Soccer documentaries include “Micah Richards: Tackling Racism” in which the Premier League player (pictured) explores the true scale of racism in British soccer, while “The Law Man” charts the rise of superstar sportsman, Denis Law. “Sir Stirling Moss, The Uncrowned King of F1,” will explore the life, career and legacy of the Formula 1 legend, and “The Wimbledon Kidnapping” tells the story of one of the most infamous cases of mistaken identity in the U.K.