The LAB pushes growth from content creation
BENNETT...content remains in demand, specifically digital and entertainment. Since this year we have seen a push towards the creative industries and orange economy regionally with shared incentives and funds being tabled and approved for budget by governments across Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada

Delivering less than favourable results at the end of its first quarter ended January, advertising and creative company Limners and Bards Limited, which trades as The LAB, said it is looking to double down on content creation and licensing as it moves to capitalise on the growing demand for international content on various video streaming platforms.

"Content remains in demand, specifically digital and entertainment. Since this year we have seen a push towards the creative industries and orange economy regionally with shared incentives and funds being tabled and approved for budget by governments across Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada. This in and of itself shows the appreciation of and need for [our business] to diversify revenue and to tap into the much idolised and celebrated Caribbean cultures globally; through intellectual property (IP) and storytelling.

"Fortunately, we are steps ahead, having already launched and selected scripts from our Pitch Perfect Competition which are now in development," said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kimala Bennett responding to recent queries from the Jamaica Observer.

Through the Pitch Perfect competition, developed as an initiative to boost The LAB's portfolio of owned content, the company has been moving to transform big creative ideas to viewer ready productions. Having already rolled out its first in a series of visual podcasts a few months ago, some three projects are now said to be in the development phase.

The LAB in anticipation of market shifts is moving to diversify and expand its revenue base by placing strong emphasis on content creation.

"We have created and are scheduled to release owned content for licensing and though it may appear as a leap, it aligns well with our strategic growth plans for expansion. Our commercial experience has been a learning and development accelerator and we currently remain in dialogue with global networks which have a few of our scripts in review and we expect to see the impact of these efforts within the next 9-12 months," she told the Business Observer.

Bennett said that as the company looks to on-board new clients this financial year, the strategy will also help to fast-track its plans for expansion into new markets and to build out new revenue streams especially in the post-pandemic era when trends show a shift in focus from traditional to digital media bolstered by an increased appetite for original content.

Delivering poor first quarter results at the end of the three months ended January, the company's profit plunged 90 per cent to total $6.6 million, down from $66 million earned in the previous year's period. Revenue, which was also nearly cut in half, closed at $248 million for the quarter. The media division which accounted for the bulk of revenues turned $135.5 million, while the agency and production segments delivered $54.2 million and $58.1 million, respectively. Total assets at the end of the quarter fell to $790 million and earnings per share to $0.01.

The company, which through its influencer marketing and talent scouting subsidiary Scope Caribbean has been trying to make inroads in talent markets across the regions, said with the results and current market trends, it is even now more focused on using its experience to delve deeper into the content creation market as it reallocates budget and looks to extract greater returns for its business.

"Our team remains equipped with content creators which align with our strategic positioning and refreshed vision. Data across platforms show that entertainment content remains high value with a push for more features, series and docu-series.

"In anticipation, Scope is also being primed to fully support the shifts in the market and the results at the end of year will show this being favourable," Bennett said.

The directors led by CEO Bennett and Chairman Steven Gooden together in expressing shared optimism further assured shareholders that the company will continue to work assiduously to steer the business to new levels, and that they "remain confident in its strategic approach that is poised to lead to favourable outcomes and increased shareholder value in the future".

BY KELLARAY MILES Business reporter

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