eMedia launches online TV in Jamaica

Part I

BY AL EDWARDS

Friday, January 13, 2012

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eMedia Interactive headed by founder and CEO Tyrone Wilson will be launching Jamaica’s first indigenous online television platform. It is Jamaica’s first new media company and connects with audiences via a number of products.


eZines are its digital magazine offerings which include Your Money, Your Style and Teen Spirit. These can be received via email, online, social media and mobile applications, now comes iVu Online Television Network.



Speaking with Caribbean Business Report from Sagicor’s corporate headquarters in New Kingston, Wilson said: "The company has finalised a private placement with Pan Caribbean Financial Services to build upon our capacity. With eZines we are extending our reach and will be rebuilding our websites and building mobile applications in order to solidify our position as a strong new media company.



"We are now going into iVu TV which will be Jamaica’s first online TV network. With this platform we will distribute local and regional content via websites, connected devices and smart phones through a box called Roku which will stream the content from the Internet to your television."



This Roku box is similar to the Apple TV device. Recently Showtime announced that it would be streaming its content via Roku. This box will be used to target the diaspora and stream content there.



eMedia Interactive has managed to raise US$350,000 from this private placement and the money will go into bolstering the company and building out new products. The company is in touch with a number of private sector companies in order to produce content for them. It is now working on producing a documentary on entrepreneurship to be released during Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence celebrations. This will put the spotlight on the likes of R. Danny Williams and Karl Hendrickson and looking at their journey to the top of corporate Jamaica. The company will also be producing interactive DVDs. Another project will be ‘The Weekender,’ a guide to how to best spend the weekend which will be in the form of its eZine content. This capital injection will assist in acquiring equipment necessary to produce these products and distributing them.



"The media landscape has changed tremendously over the last few years. Internetpowered smart phones, tablets and connected TVs have changed the way people consume content. iVu TV will change entertainment in Jamaica, providing new ways for people to access content. "There is no shortage of talented content providers but currently they do not have the funding to take their projects to the next level for the enjoyment of viewers here and abroad, who can enjoy greater choice and better quality content. Our iVu online TV network is the best way to ensure that their content moves from the Caribbean to the world. Available via free and premium subscriptions, the service is underpinned by sworld-class technology from our partners, Brightcove, a leading global provider of cloud content services," said Wilson. The aim is to launch online TV in Jamaica, leverage the experience garnered there before entering the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean. Wilson sees a dearth of new media content in countries like Trinidad, Barbados and St Lucia and wants to be the first to bring his product to these markets. He is following in the footsteps of the producers of the animated series Taxi Chronicles who are taking it to Trinidad and Oliver MacIntosh who has done a marvellous job with SportsMax which can now be found across the Englishspeaking Caribbean. eMedia Interactive is having extensive discussion with content providers and will be hosting a meeting to that effect at Jampro on the 26th of January where it will explain what iVu is all about. It is also aggressively approaching the film industry and encouraging thit to use this new platform to show their ware.



"Content is king and we need content in order to create traction.The iVu is a legitimate and transparent source for content producers to earn more for their efforts. The opportunities locally, lets face it are limited. Apart from TVJ and CVM there is very few places to go.iVu will allow content providers to reach a global market. I have found that around the world there is a strong demand for Jamaican content.



"We have a premium subscription model which allows people to access movies and TV shows. The subscription begins from US$7.99. The box costs US$59 and that is a oneoff. It also allows one to access the likes of Netflixs and Hulu. Our websites will be ready for the first week in February and our apps later in the year. We will not launch the premium subscription until Year two. In effect what we will be doing is monetising content without putting up all the infrastructure to create content," explained Wilson.



The CEO and president of Pan Caribbean Financial Services Donovan Perkins added: "When you look at the creativity and talent we have here in Jamaica , I think that Tyrone is taking a good bet. I was moved by Tyrone’s confidence in himself and his understanding of the business. We took the decision to invest US$350,000 in the business which is convertible at our option into shares. It has a very low coupon and we want to leave the cash in the business and allow it to grow. Tyrone has put together a very good board with the CEO and president of Sagicor Jamaica Richard Byles serving as chairman. eMedia’s goal is to list on the junior Jamaica Stock Exchange in about three years’ time. I think there is no doubt that the company will list."



Ross Sheil will serve as eMedia’s vice president of Content and will be leading the charge of strengthening eZine’s editorial content. He heads a young dynamic team. Shiel explained: "The bottom line is that media is now a technology business. You have to marry yourself to the latest technology and eMedia is looking to use the latest platforms. We are putting great emphasis on quality content.. We are patently aware that by putting up content we are up against many providers both locally and internationally that is why it is vital that we raise the quality of our content because in the end we are judged by everything that is out there.We see the potential that is out there for us."

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