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Media and entertainment companies must get more diverse. They shape how we see our world. – USA TODAY

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I’ve confronted the diversity issue all my life, especially as a Black man in executive positions at corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Coors and GM.

Few issues rank higher on the agenda for brands, especially those in media and entertainment, than the ever-intensifying debate about diversity. But results throughout the industry landscape vary widely. Let’s face it, some companies are “doing” diversity better than others – getting it right while others fail to get it at all, and still others that land somewhere in between. Every day the stakes for success keep getting higher.  

These companies should be held to an even higher standard on DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) than businesses in most other sectors. After all, they shape the images that our children see via television and movies. A recent study by McKinsey found that the industry remains disproportionately homogenous: 87% of TV executives and 92% of film executives are white. 

Netflix and Disney are leaders

My perspective is also based on metrics rather than mere opinion. The Association of National Advertisers and its Center for Brand Purpose recently established the ANA/Swayable ESG Brand Perception Index. The tool, reflecting daily surveys of consumer opinion, measures 400 national brands according to environmental, social and governance impact. Equity and diversity reporting and accountability are among the key metrics. 

Topping the list among entertainment brands are Netflix and Disney. At Netflix, for example, the number of Black employees in the United States doubled in the last three years. Soon after the murder of George Floyd, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, donated $120 million to historically Black colleges and universities to honor his memory.  

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At Disney, Walt Disney Television recently unveiled the Onyx Collective, a new production entity designed to feature work by “underrepresented” creators such as those of color. Its content will be distributed largely through Hulu, a Disney streaming platform. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the Floyd murder, Disney quickly issued a statement declaring that “the pandemic coupled with these recent injustices have pushed the issues of racial disparity into the open.”   

At the opposite end of the spectrum is ViacomCBS. Back in 2018, CEO Les Moonves was ousted amid allegations of sexual harassment. The following year, longtime executive Whitney Davis – the company’s own director of entertainment diversity and inclusion – resigned, accusing the network of having a “white problem” and neglecting to “value a diverse workplace.”   

If only those difficulties had inspired CBS to change. But no.

Black in Business: Racial Justice and diversity in business require leadership

Earlier this year, the Emmy award-winning daytime series “The Talk” was embroiled in a controversy with racial overtones. Long-time co-host Sharon Osbourne referred to Piers Morgan’s comment that he refused to “believe a word” of the Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan that was broadcast on CBS. In a hostile exchange about the topic with Sheryl Underwood, a Black co-host, Osbourne said, “I very much feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist and that makes me a racist.” A CBS investigation led to Osbourne leaving the show.   

I’ve confronted the diversity issue up close and personal my entire adult life, especially in my experience as a Black man holding executive leadership positions in corporations such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Coors, and General Motors.  

At GM, for example, as Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for North America in 2007, I often complained to my superiors that our media buys lacked diversity. I expressed a particular concern about advertising for Chevrolet and Cadillac on “Imus in The Morning,” a nationally syndicated radio program on Westwood One, and simulcast on MSNBC.  

I was told that the company had to support voices from both the left and the right. This has nothing to do with the left or the right, I said, it’s that Don Imus is racist.

Weeks later, Imus said the words that got him kicked off the air. On hearing that the Rutgers women’s basketball team had lost an NCAA championship game, he used racist and sexist slurs to insult them and their appearances, most infamously their hair

DEI is a must-have for New Hollywood

Activists and journalists immediately called for Imus to be fired. Later that morning GM CEO Rick Wagoner told me, the company’s most senior Black marketing executive in North America, that Imus’ words were despicable and asked me what we should do. I put forward my recommendation and GM quickly issued a statement suspending its ads on the show.

GM turned out to be one of the first companies to withdraw advertising support from Don Imus. A domino effect ensued, with Amex, GlaxoSmithKline and Procter & Gamble also dropping the show. Finally. MSNBC dumped the show as well.  

Woefully undiverse: We’re here, we’re queer and we watch the Hallmark Channel’s corny Christmas movies, too

My experiences tell me that warnings are sounded again and again, only to go unheeded for years, leading to disastrous consequences. Media companies bear a special responsibility to build a culture that reflects the audiences who pay the bills. They must continue to deliver high-quality content from people of color, ensure that production budgets mirror the consumer market, and address the ongoing lack of diversity in the C-suite and among boards of directors.  

In the New Hollywood now emerging, the companies committed to embracing these changing dynamics will flourish. DEI is a “must-have” rather than a “nice to do.” McKinsey estimated that if the film and TV industry addressed these barriers, it would unlock more than $10 billion in annual revenues, equal to a 7% expansion in baseline industry revenues.

Talking the talk is good. But walking the walk will be even better.  

Mike Jackson is Chief Marketing Officer at Vision Media. 

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Hollywood Enlists Asian Media in US-Led $71 Billion Piracy Fight – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Hollywood studios battling online piracy have enlisted the first Asian members of an industry coalition set up to seek out and shut down illegal streaming sites.

The Hong Kong-based streaming service Viu and True Visions, a leading Thai pay-TV provider, will be the first Asian companies to join the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, whose members include Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co. and other major media companies.

The alliance is part of the US Motion Picture Association and has 39 members, with plans to enlist other players in Latin America and elsewhere. Dues from the media organizations are used to finance legal fights against the theft of content.

Piracy has been on the rise during the pandemic, costing US entertainment companies an estimated $29 billion to $71 billion in lost revenue annually, according to executives at the organization. And media companies typically notice, and act on, copyright and intellectual property theft before police.

“We now have local partners fighting this local fight, who can connect to local law enforcement,” Charles Rivkin, chairman of the alliance and the Motion Picture Association, said in an interview. “It’s a whole lot more effective when you have a local player come in with the MPA than the MPA just parachuting in on our own and trying to make headway.”

Expanding Ranks

While the organization is mostly made of US companies, including all of the major Hollywood studios and streaming services that form the MPA trade group, it also has international partners. BBC Worldwide and Vivendi SE’s Canal+ are two of its biggest European members. Rivkin said he has long sought to expand the group’s footprint in Asia-Pacific, where some of the largest illegal streaming sites are run.

Viu is one of the biggest streaming platforms in Asia, with 58.6 million monthly active users, according to the company. True Visions is a cable and satellite TV operator based in Thailand, and last month helped the alliance and local police arrest an alleged content pirate and shut down his website.

“We recognize the need to address the piracy that is widespread in our markets,” Marianne Lee, chief of content acquisition and development at Viu, said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring consumers move from illegal piracy sites to legal options.”

While Hollywood has battled film and TV piracy for years, it became particularly problematic after major studios made their content more readily accessible online during pandemic lockdowns. John Fithian, the head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, said in April piracy was so widespread in 2021 that studios scrapped plans to debut their big, new films online rather than in theaters.

The alliance says it’s also looking to partner with major sports leagues across the world, since they are also the target of digital content thieves. In April, ACE added beIN Media Group, one of the biggest international sports broadcasters, to its ranks.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Boston media explodes after Red Sox blow it without unvaccinated closer Houck – Sportsnet.ca

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Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 situation, in sports and around the world, is constantly evolving. Readers in Canada can consult the country’s public health website for the latest.

The Boston media is known for being tough on their teams at all times.

It reaches another level, though, when something like Tuesday night happens.

Because Boston Red Sox closer Tanner Houck is unvaccinated, he had to be placed on the restricted list prior to this week’s series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

And wouldn’t you know it, his absence loomed large on Tuesday when the Blue Jays scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win over the Red Sox.

Longtime Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy and other members of the Boston media were quick to post their feelings on Twitter.

Without Houck, the Red Sox asked Tyler Danish, who pitched the eighth, to go back out for the ninth.

But Danish, who has zero career saves, let the first two runners on. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to replace him with Hansel Robles.

Robles wasn’t any more successful, giving up RBI singles to Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to end it.

When asked if the situation made him more frustrated about the vaccination situation, Cora said no.

“We go with the 26 that are here, and we try to get 27 outs and we didn’t do it,” Cora said.

The Blue Jays have now won five of six against the Red Sox in Toronto this season heading into Wednesday’s series finale when Toronto will start ace Alek Manoah.

And, maybe just maybe, the same two teams will play in the same venue in October.

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Media Release – June 29, 2022 – Guelph Police – Guelph Police Service

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Fake gun call doesn’t work

A male who reported a bogus firearms incident in an attempt to avoid being arrested instead faces additional charges.

Approximately 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Guelph Police Service officers located a stolen motorcycle in a downtown parking lot. Investigation led them to an apartment unit where they believed the responsible male was hiding.

While officers were on scene, a 911 call was received by the communications centre reporting a male with a firearm at a business on Eramosa Road. Several officers responded and determined the report was fake and intended to draw officers away from the downtown apartment.

After extensive negotiations, a male was arrested just before 9:30 p.m. A 38-year-old Guelph male is charged with possessing stolen property over $5,000, public mischief and failing to comply with a release order. He was held for a bail hearing Wednesday.

Male charged with impaired, mischief

A Guelph male was charged with mischief after smearing feces on a surveillance camera at the Guelph Police station following his arrest for impaired driving.

Just after 6 p.m Tuesday, the Guelph Police Service received reports of an erratic driver in the area of Woodlawn Road West and Imperial Road North. A short time later the running vehicle was located at the owner’s residence with the male still sitting inside. Officers detected an odour of alcoholic beverage on his breath and observed an empty beer can inside the vehicle. Testing at the police station confirmed the male had more than the legal amount of alcohol in his system.

While the male was being held awaiting his release, he began to cover a cellblock camera with a pillow. After the pillow was taken away he used his hand to smear feces on the camera lens.

A 47-year-old Guelph male is charged with impaired operation and mischief. His driver’s licence was suspended for 90 days and his vehicle was impounded for seven days. He will appear in a Guelph court July 12, 2022.

Male arrested for break and enter

A Guelph male has been arrested nearly two months after a north-end garage was entered.

On May 8, a resident in the area of Victoria Road North and Ingram Drive reported a break-in to his garage. Video surveillance showed a vehicle stopping in front of the house approximately 3:20 a.m. A male entered the garage and stole tools and other items.

A suspect was identified from the video and arrested Tuesday.

A 32-year-old Guelph male is charged with break and enter, prowl at night and breach of probation. He will appear in a Guelph bail court July 5, 2022.

Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 240

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