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NBCUniversal wants to increase diversity, starts "Fifty Percent Challenge Initiative"
NBCUniversal wants to increase diversity, starts "Fifty Percent Challenge Initiative"
Credit: Botsford

NBCUniversal has announced that in an effort to increase diversity and inclusion in its workforce, it is starting the "Fifty Percent Challenge Initiative". The initiative, which was sent out in a memo to employees at NBCUniversal News Group, calls to have a workforce made up of 50 percent people of colour and 50 percent women but the network has not included a timeline.

"We want to increase diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera, and earn the trust of every community in America that relies on us for exceptional journalism,” so Cesar Conde, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group.

Business • Media & Advertising
Lego, Pepsi, Mars Inc. and others joining the #StopHateForProfit movement
Lego, Pepsi, Mars Inc. and others joining the #StopHateForProfit movement
Credit: Stop Hate For Profit

More and more companies are joining the #StopHateForProfit movement to boycott Facebook over its hate speech policies. Over the past days, numerous brands have announced they would stop advertising on Facebook platforms, including Lego, Pepsi, Henkel, Volkswagen Group, Target, Chobani, Vans, Puma and Mars Inc.

Business • Media & Advertising
The New York Times ends partnership with Apple News
The New York Times Building at 620 Eighth Avenue, NYC
The New York Times Building at 620 Eighth Avenue, NYC Credit:éphan Valentin

The New York Times has ended its partnership with Apple News and has stopped distributing articles in the Apple News App.

The biggest factors behind the decision are that "Apple had given it little in the way of direct relationships with readers and little control over the business," and The Times is seeking to "drive readers directly to its own website and mobile app so that it could 'fund quality journalism'."

"Core to a healthy model between The Times and the platforms is a direct path for sending those readers back into our environments, where we control the presentation of our report, the relationships with our readers and the nature of our business rules," so Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer. "Our relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters."

Business • Media & Advertising
Ford, Adidas and Clorox join social media advertising boycott
Ford, Adidas and Clorox join social media advertising boycott
Credit: Image Composition: Pendect; Images via Unsplash

Ford, Adidas and Clorox have joined a growing list of companies pausing social media advertising to take action against hate speech. Ford will not advertise on either Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter in the U.S. for the next 30 days. Clorox is pausing advertising globally on all Facebook-owned platforms until the end of the year, Adidas through July.

Business • Media & Advertising
Starbucks to pause social media advertising over hate speech
Starbucks store
Starbucks store Credit:

Starbucks has announced to halt advertising on "all social media platforms", though the company is not joining the #StopHateForProfit boycott campaign. The coffeehouse chain further stated it would hold "discussions internally and with media partners and civil rights organizations to stop the spread of hate speech" but would continue to post on social media platforms without paid promotion.

"We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech," so the company in a statement on Sunday. "We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change."

Business • Media & Advertising
Netflix CEO to donate $120 million to HBCUs
Reed Hastings speaking at the Media Convention Berlin in 2015
Reed Hastings speaking at the Media Convention Berlin in 2015 Credit: Mondileinchen / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, announced that he and his wife Patty Quillin would be donating a total of $120 million to three HBCUs, historically black colleges and universities. Morehouse College, Spelman College and United Negro College Fund will receive $40 million each.

In their statement, the pair said that they have "supported these three extraordinary institutions for the last few years" because they believe that "investing in the education of Black youth is one of the best ways to invest in America's future" and adding "generally, white capital flows to predominantly white institutions, perpetuating capital isolation. We hope this additional $120 million donation will help more black students follow their dreams."

Business • Media & Advertising
Facebook relaxes rules about Covid-19 advertising, will now allow ads for non-medical masks
Women wearing non-medical masks
Women wearing non-medical masks Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

Facebook announced Wednesday it relaxes its rules about coronavirus-related advertising. After banning ads for masks on its platform in March, the company will now allow advertisers to promote non-medical masks, provided they’re not marketed with medical, health or prevention claims.

“We will still maintain a temporary ban on selling medical masks, such as surgical or N95 masks, to prevent people from exploiting the pandemic for financial gain.,” said Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management.

Business • Media & Advertising
Google to ban targeting housing ads based on gender, age
Google stall at an event in Cologne, Germany
Google stall at an event in Cologne, Germany Credit: Rajeshwar Bachu

Google announced it would stop allowing housing, employment and credit ads to be targeted to users based on their postal code, gender, age, parental status or marital status, aiming to protect users from unlawful discrimination.

The new rules will build on top of a policy that already prohibits advertisers from targeting users on sensitive areas, categories related to identity, beliefs, sexuality or attributes such as race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The new policy will go into effect by the end of the year in the US and Canada.

Business • Media & Advertising
Spotify’s Premium subscriber base reachs 130 million users.
View from Spotify’s Stockholm HQ
View from Spotify’s Stockholm HQ Credit: Spotify

Spotify published its financial results for Q1 2020, reporting that it had 130 million Premium subscribers globally at the end of the quarter. That was up by 6m subscribers compared to the end of the prior quarter (Q4 2019) and up by 30m (+31%) compared to the same period last year.

The company stated it started seeing a fall in users in late February in virus-affected countries such as Italy and Spain, but has seen a meaningful recovery in the last few weeks.

Total revenue was €1.85 billion, an increase of 22% compared to last year, while premium subscription revenue grew by 23% reaching €1.70 billion.