NPO: “We need continuous monitoring of diversity in our media content”

Egon Verharen, Innovation Manager at the Dutch national public broadcasting organisation NPO, says monitoring diversity in NPO’s broadcast content is crucial and will continue to play an important role in the next five years.

NPO, being the umbrella organisation for public broadcasting services in the Netherlands, divides government money between eleven Dutch broadcasters (2020) depending on their programming and size. They are also responsible for setting goals in order to fulfil the requirements of NPO’s performance contract with the government – including the diversity goals.

“We are currently writing the plan for 2022-2026 and we know that we will continue to focus on diversity and equality during this period,” Verharen explains. 

Egon Verharen, Innovation Manager at NPO.

However, a difficulty with diversity reporting is that nobody knows exactly how to report on it – not the Dutch government, not NPO, and not the broadcasters. NPO’s mission is to make sure that everyone in the Netherlands is represented, but there are no clear instructions for how to do so.

“We have to represent all walks of life in the Netherlands,” says Verharen, “and we need support both in how to report on diversity and in implementing solutions for continuous monitoring.”

To investigate how this can be done, NPO collaborated with diversity startup Ceretai in a test project in June 2020. The startup supports media houses with diversity monitoring through a software tool called the Diversity Dashboard. The aim is to combine deep knowledge of diversity and equality with technological know-how to create a standard for diversity monitoring in Europe.

“Ceretai’s services are definitely along the lines of what I think NPO needs. Today we research diversity manually, having people count representation in terms of for example gender and age. But I believe the whole process of diversity monitoring can be automated, making it easier for our compliance officer and video directorate to revise the goals for the broadcast organisations,” Verharen concludes.

Ceretai provides products and services for diversity monitoring of media and entertainment. Diversity Do’s is an interview series with European media houses to deep dive into their initiatives for increased diversity and equality. If you are interested in Ceretai’s services please send an email to hello@ceretai.com.

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