The other part of GroupM’s new Media Inclusion Initiative is a “diverse voices accelerator,” which serves as a positive-impact fund to support diverse and Black creators, writers, producers, directors, talent and studios. The platform will look to support Black people and groups in the development, funding, distribution and marketing of content for GroupM’s clients. The “diverse voices accelerator” will initially focus on Black-owned initiatives and companies and will subsequently expand its reach
“We don’t have enough Black-owned media, which is a bigger issue,” McDonald says, adding that GroupM’s 2% commitment could represent support and investment in up to 30% of all available Black-owned media.
“We don’t want to just share up the pie differently, we want the pie to grow,” McDonald says. “We need to find a way to support more diverse media ownership, not just support what’s out there.”
To this end, the Media Inclusion Initiative is designed to invest in the Black-owned media companies and creators that exist today and invest in supporting new Black-owned media companies and creators for tomorrow, McDonald says.
This initiative falls under GroupM’s “responsible investment” buying framework, which focuses on brand safety, data ethics, diversity, equity and inclusion, responsible journalism and sustainability. In February, the agency struck a two-year deal with OZY, a multi-platform media and entertainment company that boasts a connection with diverse audiences and is owned by Carlos Watson.
The announcement comes ahead of the Black Owned Media Upfront this week, which will put the spotlight on Black-owned media companies including Revolt, Ebony Magazine, Urban Edge Networks and The African Channel. Black-owned media companies, led by media mogul Byron Allen, have rallied together in recent months to call for brands to spend a minimum of 2% of their ad budgets in Black-owned media.
Last week, IPG Mediabrands announced it is committing to invest a minimum of 5% in Black-owned media across all of its clients in aggregate by 2023.