Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Changing Landscape of local television

 Advertisers and film makers are benefitting from two recent developments within the local television and film industry. Due to shifts in the global economy, film and video producers have been able to capitalize on lowered costs of film equipment as well as airtime, giving them the flexibility to produce a large volume of high quality Jamaican content. The flood of new programmes is augmented by the availability of Flow Advertising Intelligence Reports which produces daily viewership reports, allowing advertisers to target local consumers.

 Locally produced programming has always held the interest of viewers, with vintage classics from the 1980s and early 90s such as Lime Tree Lane, Oliver at Large, and Titus in Town achieving much success. Lenny Little White’s ground breaking soap opera Royal Palm Estate has also achieved success locally and a cult following regionally.  In the first decade of the new millennium Jamaican directors, producers and other television content providers were swept into a wave of seemingly insurmountable competition against an overwhelming overseas cable viewership.

Now in 2011 the local film fraternity has made a quantum leap, with a slew of new reality series, and even animations that rival the overseas market. Producer Kibwe McGann who has had great success abroad commented on his choice to return to Jamaica’s film scene. “A lot of the work I’ve done is outside of Jamaica, so having done things on BET, Centric, and Tempo, stuff in Barbados and Trinidad; it is pretty exciting to air to my local audience on FlowTV. The time had to come. Cameras have gotten cheaper so producers have good equipment and are coming out with content and music every day.”

With the new wave of Jamaican programming; TV content creators, distributors and advertisers are seeking to profit. As a result, within the last two months FlowTV has taken on a unique format, dedicating a six hour block between 5:30 pm and 11:30pm to locally created shows.

Producer Delano Forbes of Phase Three Productions is impressed by the flexibility allowed by the station saying, “FlowTV gives film-makers the opportunity to get sponsors on board and to ultimately get people to enjoy their shows. We finally have a model where we can get the message out, but we don’t have to bear such a heavy cost.”

Businesses have taken notice of the new wave in the film industry and ensuing public response. Pat Sicard of Superior Auto Parts, was impressed by the variety of show offerings on the new station, and explained their choice to advertise on FlowTV. “With so many viewing options, what initially attracted us to advertise on FlowTV was their mosaic screen feature,” she expanded, “since Flow customers are able to view up to five shows simultaneously, their customers have the option to watch both regular programs and the weather, meanwhile they can see my scroll running at bottom or as banner or background. It is multiple advertising.”
 Nathan Nelms Director of Media and Online Services for Prism Communications commented “Every agency out there should subscribe to Flow’s monthly Advertising Intelligence Reports. It tells us what stations are being watched, how often, for how long etc. and we can extrapolate data to find the national statistics. It’s a great tool which helps companies like Prism make informed decisions when buying TV advertising space.”

Kim Marie Spence, National Film Commissioner was also excited about the new show options saying “I think corporate Jamaica is rediscovering the branding potential of local content which originated from the film/video industry.”

Spence cited examples of the newfound bond between business and film saying, “Businesses are seeing film/video as an investment as exemplified by PanCaribbean and Ghett’a Life. With FlowTV’s runaway success of the Cabbie Chronicles animation, I can only imagine the potential brands that can support that franchise. I encourage corporate Jamaica to support the efforts of local producers and I also encourage directors to use these distribution outlets from FlowTV.”

The local lineup model is proving successful as Judith Falloon Reid, producer of Gospel Rhythms explains; “Everybody asked why we chose FlowTV because they thought they weren’t going to get the viewership. I am happy to say that Flow got the viewership; people would turn to that station to see the show every single Sunday and we have the figures to prove it.”

FlowTV airs on Flow Channel 100

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