Editor's Note: This post is co-authored by Susan Gonzales, Senior Director, External Affairs, Comcast and Paula Madison, Executive Vice President, NBCU. This post is also available in Spanish.
Comcast and NBC Universal are proud of our commitment to diversity, particularly in the areas of employment, philanthropy, programming and procurement. Partnering with the Hispanic, African American, Asian Pacific American, LGBT, and Disabled communities, among others, has given us the opportunity to create opportunities and build strong bonds. As we embark on our new venture, we are confident that the transaction will result in unprecedented opportunities for diverse communities, including communities of color.
As Comcast and NBCU plan ahead, the leaders of both companies are reaching out to their respective diversity partners to understand what opportunities can be created as a result of the new venture. As part of this effort, we worked with Hispanic leaders representing numerous community organizations around the country on an agreement that addresses opportunities for Latino communities. National leaders in the Hispanic community and Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership were instrumental as facilitators and resources as we discussed the Comcast/GE joint venture relating to NBCU and opportunities for the Hispanic community.
Since we first announced the proposed Comcast/GE joint venture last winter, we have spent significant time working with leaders from the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR), and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) to articulate the steps the new company will take to realize opportunities for Latinos that flow from the creation of the new entity. We also worked very closely with the leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who provided guidance as we navigated the articulation of significant commitments.
We are proud to join with the Hispanic leadership organizations in announcing the results of our discussions. The agreement is truly a product of our collective creativity and arises out of a spirit of cooperation and partnership. We see the agreement as not only creating opportunities for Latino communities, businesses, and audiences, but also creating better business opportunities for our new company.
The agreement is intended to cover all of Comcast’s major operating subsidiaries, including Comcast Cable and Comcast’s programming assets, which, upon closing of the transaction with GE, will include NBC Universal and its major operating subsidiaries, including Universal Studios and Universal Theme Parks.
These pledges cover Employment, Procurement, Programming, Philanthropy and Governance. To measure our progress, Comcast and NBC Universal will create a nine-member Hispanic Advisory Council tasked with identifying and monitoring benchmarks in each of these focus areas. The Council will provide advice to the senior executive teams at Comcast and NBC Universal regarding the companies’ development and implementation of a strategic plan to improve diversity practices at Comcast. The Hispanic Advisory Council will meet twice annually, including once a year with Comcast’s CEO. Comcast and NBC Universal will assign liaisons to facilitate communication between the parties. The Hispanic Advisory Council will also be part of a Joint Council including representatives from the African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Native American, LGBT, Disabled, Veterans and other communities. We’ll ensure that the public stays informed through regular reports by the Joint Council on our progress against benchmarks.
Our specific commitments include:
- Comcast and NBC Universal will increase Latino representation at all levels of their respective organizations, paying particular attention to senior management, mid-level management, entry-level employment opportunities, and current employment levels. This commitment will ensure that Comcast and NBCU work closely with the Hispanic Advisory Council to identify recruiters and candidates to join the new entity.
- Comcast Cable and NBC Universal will continue to partner with the Latino business community and participate in procurement-related events, as they have in recent years. Comcast and NBC Universal will seek advice from the Hispanic Advisory Council to identify opportunities for spending with Latino-owned suppliers who can meet the companies’ needs in agreed-upon categories.
- On a nationwide basis, Comcast and NBC Universal will strive to increase the percentage of business conducted with Latino-owned vendors to be on par with the percentage of Latino-owned businesses in the communities we serve.
- In our Public Interest Statement, filed with the Federal Communications Commission on January 28, 2010, Comcast, GE, and NBC Universal pledged to expand over-the-air programming to the Latino community utilizing a portion of the digital broadcast spectrum of Telemundo’s owned and operated stations. Specifically, within 12 months of closing the transaction, NBC Universal will launch a new Spanish-language multicast channel on Telemundo’s digital broadcast spectrum, utilizing library programming that has had limited exposure.
- In addition, Comcast Cable committed to use its On Demand and On Demand Online platforms to feature Telemundo programming and to continue expanding the availability of mun2 – Telemundo’s sister network aimed at young Latinos.
- Comcast also committed to add a number of new independently-owned and –operated channels to its systems starting in 2011. New programming networks that are American Latino-operated, English-language and American Latino networks with a majority and/or substantial ownership interest will be among those added following closing of the transaction. Comcast will work closely with the Hispanic Advisory Council to help identify programming services in which American Latinos have a majority and/or substantial ownership interest.
- Comcast also plans expanded distribution of currently-carried networks that are American Latino owned or controlled or target the Latino community with English or Spanish language programming.
- NBCU is committed to increasing news and information choices for Hispanic viewers, including a plan to work with an independent producer on a weekly business news program.
- Comcast and NBC Universal will increase support for internship programs and scholarship programs and, with the cooperative efforts of the Hispanic Advisory Council, will seek to enhance participation of Latino students in such programs.
- Comcast will further promote and communicate the positive work and impact of its Latino partners, by increasing the provision of public service announcements, social media communications, advertising, and media placement both locally and nationally.
- NBC Universal similarly agrees to continue and expand its outreach to Latino students and schools by collaborating with leading Latino national and local organizations to identify and consider funding of education-focused programs that will have an impact in the communities served by NBC Universal businesses.
- Comcast has committed to naming a Latino to the Board of Directors within 24-months. Comcast recognizes that inclusion of a Latino member on the Board of Directors will enhance diverse voices at the table and represent the Hispanic community across all areas of the business
We thank the group of Hispanic leaders who worked with us on this agreement, and the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for their support and guidance. These leaders have been consistently and constructively engaged, and we would not have reached such an unprecedented series of commitments without their leadership.
As a leading American media company, we feel a special responsibility to set the standard for collaborative work with the Hispanic community and all diverse leaders. Collectively, we are looking ahead to the approval of the Comcast/NBCU joint venture which will make possible the many new opportunities outlined in the MOU. We look forward to working together with the Hispanic Advisory Council to make progress in the years to come.