Five Asian-American organizations have come out in support of Comcast's proposed deal to control NBC Universal after Comcast agreed to expand Asian-American programming in a 16-page memorandum of understanding.
The support comes as regulators work to complete a review of the $30 billion deal, which likely won't be approved by the end of the year.
"We believe that the approval of this joint venture will mark a significant advance for the cause of diversity in media and entertainment," wrote the groups in a Dec. 15 letter to the Federal Communications Commission. (They include the Asian-American Justice Center, Organization of Chinese Americans, Japanese-American Citizens League, East West Players, and Media Action Network for Asian Americans.)
These groups—concerned that Comcast had terminated one of the few Asian-American channels—have been working with Comcast since the deal with NBCU was announced.
Comcast's commitment to expand Asian-American programming includes increased distribution of an existing channel or launching a new channel, as well as the launch of Cinema Asian America—a new On Demand offering. Comcast has also agreed to invest "substantial funds" to develop new talent pipelines for Asian-American-themed content.
In the area of corporate governance, the cable giant said it would "make its best efforts" to fill a future board of directors opening with an Asian-American candidate.
All of Comcast's efforts will be monitored by a new nine-member Asian-American Advisory Council, four of whom will be named from the organizations that signed the memorandum of understanding between Comcast and the five Asian-American groups.
"While our dedication to diversity is long-standing, the commitments announced today position us to better compete in an increasingly diverse business environment," said Susan Jin Davis, vp of strategic services communications and data services for Comcast Cable.