Blog Post

Comcast NBCUniversal Delivers Transparent Metrics In Every Area, Including Programming

August 29, 2017

Many companies rely extensively on metrics to assess their business goals and determine new strategies. In the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I”) area, Comcast NBCUniversal has taken metrics to a new level of transparency, both in terms of its workforce and supplier diversity assessments, and in looking at the marketplace.

Notes Maria Arias, Vice President, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion, “The commitment to detailed metrics began when the D&I initiative ramped up with the acquisition of NBCUniversal, which closed in 2011.” Senior Executive Vice President David L. Cohen became the enterprise-wide Chief Diversity Officer, and “the company made a very public commitment to D&I.”

Initial metrics were modeled after those used by HACR (Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility), and covered traditional areas, such as representation in the workforce, supplier diversity, and community investment. “But to truly demonstrate our commitment, we wanted to measure our progress in the heart of our business: programming. We wanted to create a culture of inclusion, and become the model for D&I in corporate America,” Arias says.

Starting in 2012, Comcast NBCUniversal created an annual online D&I Report that included substantial content, including information on multicultural programming and on-air talent.

Today, the company focuses its D&I efforts on Workforce, Procurement, Programming, Accessibility, Community Investment and Governance. The 2017 D&I Report is a model of transparency, including:

  • The company has made progress on its aspirational goal of 33% people of color and 50% women across its workforce. In 2016, people of color were 53% of new hires, and women were 39% of new hires.
  • Diversity is shown at every level – vice president and above, director, manager. Over the past six years, the company has seen a 43% growth in the number of diverse leaders at the vice-president level, 63% at the director level and 58% at the manager level.
  • Employee Resource Group participation is highlighted – more than 20,000 members in 118 chapters, with 24 new chapters launched in 2016.
  • Supplier diversity metrics are equally transparent – the company shares how much has been spent with Tier I diverse suppliers since 2011 (more than $11 billion) and how much was spent in 2016 ($3.2 billion). They also showcase spend with Tier II (subcontractors) who are diverse (more than $1.3 billion since 2012, and $455 million in 2016).
  • The company discloses information about its $20 million Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, which provides capital investments to minority- and women-owned startups.
  • For programming, Comcast reports the total hours of diverse content available through its On Demand and online platforms (more then 16,000), as well as the number of networks it carries that target underrepresented groups (more than 100). NBCUniversal programming is reported separately and includes a breakdown by gender and race/ethnicity of on-air and behind-the-camera talent. Comcast NBCUniversal also reports the success of its films starring diverse talent, and targeting diverse audiences.

The company is also transparent about its philanthropy to organizations led by, and serving, diverse communities, including efforts to bolster internet usage in low-income communities. In August 2017, the company announced a milestone of providing 4 million low-income Americans with internet access through its Internet Essentials program.

“Our commitment to diversity is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the right thing for our company. The world is different than it was 25 years ago. We will soon be a minority-majority population in the U.S., and the multiculturalism of Millennials has changed everything. We benefit greatly from the innovative and unique perspectives of our diverse employees, suppliers, and programs,” Arias says.

She highlights the increased emphasis on online demographics and in looking at programming and casting on television and in films. “When you look at areas like films for NBCUniversal, the release of ‘Girls Trip,’ which was the first film produced, written and starring African-Americans to break the $100 million box office mark, and other films like ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ which had great success in the African-American and general markets, these are smart business decisions. After African-American anchor Lester Holt took over ‘NBC Nightly News,’ it became the most-watched evening news program among 25-54 year olds. That’s just smart business.”

She also cites increased focus on accessibility initiatives for the disability community with devices such as the X1 Voice Remote and X1 Talking Guide. Comcast NBCUniversal’s diversity efforts extend to the LGBTQ and military communities as well.

“The success of our program is that we built the foundation. Then, we took a step back and we’ve partnered with the business to see what works. We share best practices and seek advice from our internal and external councils, and from partner organizations. And most importantly, we share the lessons learned,” she adds.

This case study is an excerpt from Diversity Best Practices’ upcoming publication, The D&I Strategist Playbook, your go-to guide to build and advance your organization’s D&I strategy. Each chapter will include:

  • Tools, templates and “how-to’s” provided by subject matter experts
  • Case studies from organizations making progress in each area (like the one in featured here)
  • Focus on key levers for driving change
  • Multiple entry points based on stages of development
  • ‘Next practice’ examples

Stay tuned for more details and how to order your copy of this exciting new resource!