My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: RJR Communications Group buys Sports Events rights for JA$1 billion from SportsMax - TVJ becomes The Expendables 2 to Rescue Sports Journalism from Death

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

RJR Communications Group buys Sports Events rights for JA$1 billion from SportsMax - TVJ becomes The Expendables 2 to Rescue Sports Journalism from Death

I am now feeling very proud of Television Jamaica for having rescued themselves from certain extinction by IPTV Streaming’s rise in Jamaica. This as Telecom Providers ramp up their Wired and Wireless Broadband Networks rollout!

Telecom Provider LIME, which had launched LIME TV, the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld) version in August 2010AD, plans to launch the IPTV Streaming version in 2013AD as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “LIME Jamaica’s 2013AD Launch of IPTV “LIME TV” is a Streaming “TV Anywhere” Revolution”.

The departure of General Manager Kay Osbourne from Television Jamaica and the shift of confidence towards this new media in the form of eMedia Interactive as opined in my blog article entitled “e-Media Interactive launches  the First Caribbean IPTV Network - IPTV Venture Capitalism in the Year of the Dragon” was the first nail in RJR Communication Group’s coffin.

Media Personalities then began leaving, first with the departure of Pepita Little of Television Jamaica’s Intense Fame as announced in the article PEPITA NO LONGER ON INTENSE”, published Tuesday December 20 2011AD by SHELDON WILLIAMS, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Star .

As I had opined back then, her actions were possibly due to a deliberate Plan on her part to leave and to join LIME TV as a presenter of her own show in the future as surmised in my blog article entitled “LIME chooses Juniper Networks to rebroadcast Avail-TVN's Content - Pepita Little's Ghostbusters to capture Media Personalities”.  

In reality, I’m yet to see evidence of this. However, as predicted in that blog article, with the coming availability of other Broadcast Media that has further reach beyond the shores of Jamaica upon which to ply their craft and further develop themselves, many may choose to leave the Traditional Media houses to take up jobs that pay a lot more money.

Simon Crosskill, veteran Sports Journalist then followed suit, proving this theorem, leaving Television Jamaica on Wednesday, May 23rd 2012AD for SportsMax as noted in “Crosskill's departure from TVJ marks end of an era”, published Wednesday, May 23, 2012AD by Clare Forrester, The Jamaica Observer.

This move was obviously for more money and furtherance of his Sports Journalism Career. Good to note here that SportsMax has the rights to not only Free-To-Air rebroadcast of a lot of major Sports events worldwide, but they also have IPTV Streaming Broadcasting as well.

A shocker for many, but of no surprise to the few such as myself that follow the clandestine Broadcast and Media World! Redundancies have been ongoing at the RJR Communications Group since 2010AD due to the fall in the advertising dollar. This despite the boost in viewership mainly driven by Reality Programming such as Digicel Rising Stars!

I guess that last incident was a wake-up call and a splash of cold water on the face of Management of the RJR Communications Group. That and the coming of the IPTV Streaming version of LIME TV in 2013AD as announced in my Geezam blog article entitled “LIME Jamaica’s 2013AD Launch of IPTV “LIME TV” is a Streaming “TV Anywhere” Revolution”.

Then a window of opportunity opened when during the London Olympics 2012AD, many in Jamaica complained of being unable to views the Sports extravaganza on CVM TV, the current rights holder. CVM Communications, Group, owner of CVM TV, was then exclusive rights holder for the London Olympics 2012AD and the Rio de Janeiro 2016AD and the FIFA World Cup 2014AD. 

Which is why they finally took such drastic action by announcing a JA$1 billion dollar deal over the next ten (10) years for the broadcast rights of a lot of Sports events as stated in the article “RJR hits bullseye in Sports coverage”, published Wednesday August 22, 2012AD, by AndrĂ© Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner and “RJR Group bags rights for mega Sports events”, published Wednesday, August 22, 2012AD BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

The words of General Manager Gary Allen seems to echoed the above sentiment and speaks volumes of the RJR Communication Group’s expectations of this massive investment, quote: “The marketplace has cried out for top-class sporting coverage on television, and we have responded to the request. The track record of TVJ and HITZ 92FM is that we deliver at top-quality on events and the projects that we undertake. Our intention is to surpass viewer and listener expectations in the next decade”.

ISSA President Dr Walton Small also seemed to recognize the problems that CVM TV was having with its lackluster Islandwide Broadcast Network as tacitly suggested in his comments, quote: “I am very happy. We [recognized] that the facilities and the competencies that exist here (at TVJ) will help us to really take our product into the wider public and improve on the overall quality.”

Specifically, this long term contract was signed with right-holder IMC (International Media Content), the owner of SportsMax and coincidentally the same Sports Network that Simon Crosskill defected to on Wednesday, May 23rd 2012AD. Thus a reunion of ironic proportions; Simon Crosskill will still be working with the RJR Communications Group, albeit indirectly as a broadcaster on SportsMax.

The Sports packages should make any Sports fan drool with delight:

World Cup Tournaments

1.      2018AD FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia
2.      2022AD FIFA World Cup Finals in Qatar
3.      Six (6) Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups
4.      FIFA Women's World Cup

Reggae Boy and Caribbean Football Competitions

1.      Two (2) Confederation Cup tournaments
2.      2012AD and 2014AD CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers for all Caribbean teams
3.      Reggae Boyz home friendly internationals inclusive of those played overseas

Athletics competitions both Local and International

1.      2013AD IAAF World Youth Championships
2.      2013AD IAAF World Championships
3.      2012AD and 2014AD IAAF Diamond League series
4.      2013AD ISSA Boys and Girls' Athletics Championship

2012AD and 2014AD ISSA (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association) Schoolboy Football competitions:

1.      Manning Cup
2.      DaCosta Cup
3.      Walker Cup
4.      Ben Francis Cup
5.      Olivier Shield

These Sports events are to be carried by the following members of the RJR Communications Group:

1.      Television Jamaica
2.      Hitz 92FM 
3.      TVJ Sports Network

Up until this point TVJ had been awash with Reality Programming, a trend begun by the inaugural Digicel Rising Stars back in 2004AD. And albeit over the years it has boosted Television Jamaica’s bottom line by virtue of guaranteeing a captive audience and thus attracting top advertising dollars, it resulted in the gradual deterioration of their Sports and News Journalism.

So this, it appears, this is a revitalization of Sports Journalism by the RJR Communications Group, with a focus now being paid to Local Schoolboy Football and the loyalties it engenders among Jamaicans who used to go to these high schools, quote: “Our view is that there is a lot more that can be done with the quality of our coverage of local football and at the schoolboy level, and at the high-school track and field level, our view is that we have what it takes to deliver it at a higher level”.

With this deal, it seems that the RJR Communications Group is turning full circle. They now realize that they still have to go DSO (Digital Switch Over) by 2015AD as opined in my blog article entitledBroadcasting and Digital Switch Over -Back to the Future to compete with LIME TV”.

But in order to achieve the capital to reach that goal, they need to have a rounded broadcasting package and not just a dependence on Reality Programming alone. Best of all, the captive audience for Reality Programming, mainly females, will still have their Reality Programs to satiate them; it’s now time for the men to finally have something worth watching on their Big Screen TV for a change.

CEO of IMC's cable network SportsMax, Oliver McIntosh realized this as well as the bigger picture of the developement of Sports Journalism by the RJR Communication Group's captive Audience and wider coverage, quote: “One of the reasons that we are very proud to be working with the RJR Group is because this is a Plan that goes over 10 years, and it is not only the international level, but also on the local level with ISSA. I think that the development of Sports requires more Sports being broadcast on television, and not only on SportsMax, but also through other broadcasters throughout the region. We are proud to work with the RJR Group because the more people see it, the more people want to get involved, and the more”.

RJR Communications Group can hold on to its captive audience using this ten (10) year exclusive Sports Events Deal. In the process, it will increase male viewership as well as improve Sports Journalism. The revenue earned from the Advertising dollar boost can then be used to ramp up for a transition towards IPTV Streaming as well as DSO by 2015AD…..assuming that’s not already in the budget for 2015AD

……Proving to LIME TV and all seeking to take away their captive audiences in the future that the veterans in the Broadcasting Games are not just Free-to-Air Expendables 2 (2012)!

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