Sky Heralds On-Screen Diversity Success But Needs More BAME Writers

U.K. pay-TV broadcaster Sky says its efforts to improve diversity on screen are paying off, but that it has more to do to improve the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) writers.

In the 12 months to the end of September 2019, BAME representation on screen was 31%, ahead of Sky’s published target of 20%. The figures originate from the Comcast-owned broadcaster’s interim results from its tracking of BAME inclusivity on screen and behind the camera across its entertainment channels.

Sky said that at least one person from a BAME background now holds a senior production role across all Sky-commissioned shows.

However, one area that continues to be a focus is writing talent, after the data revealed just 8% of writers were BAME against the company target of 20%.

Sky says it has several programs aimed at addressing areas of ongoing underrepresentation. Sky Table Reads is a monthly event launched in 2015, led by Sky Drama, which spotlights writers from BAME background and provides an opportunity for casting directors to introduce diverse acting talent to producers and executives.

Sky has collected data from across its original commissions made in the U.K. as part of industry initiative Project Diamond, which helps broadcasters track representation within the television business.

Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey, who is also Sky’s executive sponsor of BAME inclusion, said: “We are making huge progress in some areas, but Diamond has highlighted specific areas where we need to redouble our efforts. This is especially the case among the writer population, where we’ll be stepping up efforts to address the underrepresentation of BAME voices.”

The next publication of the industry-wide Diamond report, the third annual publication, is scheduled for release later this month.

For the first time, the report will contain data across production roles and genres.

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