Verizon said it will increase its spending with Black-owned media companies and will hold a Black-owned Media Summit with Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, which has been pushing for big business to spend more with minority enterprises.
At Multichannel News’ Culture X Conversations conference last month, Allen said he was not happy with the way advertisers do business, declaring plans to sue companies including Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to get a minimum share of their media spending.
Allen and the leaders of other Black-owned media companies, took out an ad in the Detroit Free Press, Wall Street Journal and other other papers last month criticizing GM CEO Mary Barra for refusing to meet with them. The ad charged that GM less than 0.5% of its ad budget on Black owned media.
GM later said it would boost spending with Black-owned media to 4% in 2022 and target 8% by 2025.
Verizon said it would work with Allen Media Group on a new diversity, equity and inclusion initiative aimed at increasing media spending with U.S. Black-owned media companies, highlighted by the Media Summit, which is scheduled to take place in May.
“Verizon has been working to address diversity, equity and inclusion issues for years and we are proud of the actions we continue to take to move the industry forward,” said John Nitti, chief media officer at Verizon. “Increasing our financial commitment to Black-owned media companies and partnering with Allen Media Group to host a summit that will provide these companies with resources to help enable long term growth is a crucial part of our responsible marketing action plan. It is also an important step in creating the equity the industry needs."
“I’m very proud of Verizon, one of the largest advertisers in the world, coming to the table to make sure we have real economic inclusion for Black-owned media,” said Allen. “The biggest trade deficit in our nation is the trade deficit between corporate America and Black America, and we must close that gap immediately.”
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