Diverse Content and Inclusion Now Part of the Entertainment Segment

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As the Dallas-based telecommunications company AT&T® reinvents as a “media company” after the acquisition of Time Warner®, one of its initiatives centers on shows and movies made by immigrants, women and individuals of color. Recently, the Telco giant made available “Nigerian Prince” to millions of its subscribers across the company-owned properties comprising U-VERSE®, DIRECTV® and DIRECTV NOW®.

Directed by Faraday Okoro, the film is centered on the scamming industry in the West African nation. The director received $1 million for it via a program known as AT&T® Presents: Untold Stories. It is designated to both identify and fund independent directors’ feature-length movies, to be distributed across several outlets of the company.

The fastest internet provider makes this push, as the entertainment segment grapples with a dearth of non-white and female showrunners and directors for the small and big screens.

“For every filmmaker it’s about the financial challenge,” Okoro said. “A lot of people are hesitant to make such a film, especially for their first-time film, but considering my culture, my family and this story, I knew I had to be the first person to the market with it.”

AT&T® reportedly has a 5-year license over the film. The Telco giant also runs “Hello Sunshine” with Reese Witherspoon, a project that produces series driven by females.

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AT&T’s Chief Brand Officer, Fiona Carter said that people want to see something new in programming. “As a woman, I feel that,” she said. “There are other stories that should be told on screen and just multiple stories out there that we just don’t get the chance to see.”

The Time Warner® acquisition by AT&T® will mean a broader push for diverse directors, showrunners, and programming. Carter said subscribers could expect to watch more such media content from AT&T’s WarnerMedia, which comprises Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner.

Earlier this year, the AT&T® subsidiary declared a companywide policy that called for more diversity as well as inclusion both behind and in front of the camera. Carter said that the media company has already started to make films that align with its commitment.

“That’s exciting when you get the scale of a company like AT&T® and WarnerMedia really actively working to make a difference in diversity and storytelling,” she added. “I think you’re going to see quantum leaps of improvement.”

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