The dust has just settled from IBC 2023, the media technology industry’s annual pilgrimage to Amsterdam (the RAI specifically) to see and showcase the latest innovations in media and entertainment. Historically, IBC has always let the tech do the talking, but in recent years, it has understood its position and duty to drive positive social change across the industry and make Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and sustainability top priorities. In the last couple of years, IBC introduced its Social Impact Awards and its Changemaker programme to recognize and platform people and organizations delivering trailblazing initiatives and discussions for environmental and societal good, and ensuring these topics receive the attention they deserve.
The Corporate Star Awards: where tech and social good converge
This year, there was another Environmental, Social and Governance-led highlight in the IBC calendar with the addition of the Corporate Star Awards that aims to recognize and celebrate the fantastic ESG achievements in the Broadcast, Media and Entertainment Sector. Bitmovin was proud to win the award for Best Campaign to Improve Diversity for the progress we’ve made in making our recruitment process more inclusive, increasing representation of women and people of color at leadership levels across the company and hosting workshops that focus on helping Bitmovers become better allies to underrepresented groups. Receiving the award was a huge honor! However, we also understand that DEI is a journey, not a destination and that we must continue driving change across Bitmovin and the media and entertainment technology industry.
There are numerous studies about how more diverse teams improve a company’s bottom line, but organizations should want to be more diverse and inclusive because they care about people, not profits. Additionally, becoming more diverse and inclusive does not mean hiring a few more women and people of color and calling it a day, it means examining the company’s culture and identifying and changing behaviors and practices that could alienate underrepresented groups. All of this requires real time and resource and support from leadership teams.
The Corporate Star Awards are bringing additional, much-needed focus on ESG In the media technology industry, so I asked Lisa Collins the awards’ co-producer, to share some more background on the aim and long-term vision for the awards. Lisa said, “Our vision for the Corporate Star Awards is to unify the diverse segments of our industry. In a completely impartial setting, we aim to spotlight the often-overlooked ESG initiatives that may not glitter as brightly as product launches but are equally, if not more, important.
The Broadcast Media industry is still in its nascent stages of aligning with the 2030 ESG goals established by the UN. To truly lead in this space, it’s essential for us to foster best practice sharing and holistic industry collaboration. The Corporate Star Awards are designed to be the catalyst for this shared ambition.”
Celebrating leaders of change
While we were over the moon to win a Corporate Star Award, we were also inspired by all the winners and finalists dedicated to leading positive change across the industry. Irdeto, a world leader in digital platform cybersecurity and a company we are a proud technical partner of, also won a Corporate Star Award for the Best initiative to strengthen global partnerships for its work to support the mass adoption of electric vehicles by helping provide a seamless and secure system for authenticating and authorizing EVs during charging.
Alongside its sustainability initiatives, Irdeto is also a champion of DEI in the media and entertainment technology industry. Lisa Spencer, VP of Marketing at Irdeto, said, “Innovation in tech is driven by new ideas, which is why it is essential tech companies need diversity of thought. But diversity in tech shouldn’t be justified simply because it supports innovation. Ultimately, it’s just the right thing to do, and Irdeto believes the media technology industry should reflect the wider world, celebrate people’s differences and tackle the challenges facing underrepresented groups.“
Exceptional support for Exceptional Minds
Another winner at the Corporate Star Awards was Exceptional Minds for Best Charity. Exceptional Minds is an academy and studio preparing young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in animation, visual effects, 3D gaming and other related fields in the entertainment industry. It provides technical and general work readiness training tailored to help students fulfil their artistic and professional potential.
Renard Jenkins, who sits on the advisory board of Exceptional Minds, said, “Making the media and entertainment technology industry more diverse hinges upon inclusion, which in turn requires equity by ensuring people receive the right support based on their unique background. This is something we’ve strived to achieve with Exceptional Minds by giving young, neurodivergent people the opportunity to pursue their dreams in the entertainment world.”
The journey to a more diverse and sustainable industry continues.
While it is important to celebrate the achievements of the corporate and non-profit organizations working hard to bring positive ESG-led change to the media technology industry, it’s also important we don’t become complacent.
My fellow Bitmover, Anuja Vagh, Head of Integrations, said that the biggest changes she’s seen from the industry are “recognising that DEI and sustainability are important and valid issues to be tackled.” Yet, Anuja also noted that “There is a lot more we can do in the industry. We need to think about changing the culture and attitudes that are deeply embedded in society that we often don’t recognise them for they are. At this year’s IBC, there were still many instances of casual sexism against women, which show that we as a collective, not just women, need to create an environment where it is unacceptable.”
So, ultimately, we here at Bitmovin are proud of the changes we’ve made and also our fellow Corporate Stars Award winners and finalists for making the industry more diverse, inclusive and sustainable. However, we also understand that we, as a company and an industry, we are embarking on a journey. So instead of continuously asking, “Are we there yet!?” let’s commit to evolving and learning so we can become the change the world needs.