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British couple offers diaspora link through JAM TV

Published:Sunday | October 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter

With a £400,000 investment in a broadcasting business, JAM TV, a British-Jamaican couple is hoping to connect Jamaican businesses with the United Kingdom (UK) market even as the operators themselves seek to broaden their client base.

Lillian Allen and Ricardo Allen launched their television channel in the UK in May on the Sky platform with a reach of some 13 million viewers, and has pegged its growth on the take-up from local companies who want to push their product and services in that country.

"The aim is to get local businesses to introduce themselves to the UK market through our platform," Ricardo told Sunday Business, adding that the company has further targeted real estate developers who wish to showcase local listings to returning residents and investors.

"We are a television channel they can show their product and services on and directly reach the market that they would want to attract," he said.

JAM TV was inspired to showcase the local and Caribbean culture in the UK "as I was a bit disheartened by my teenage, predominantly black students that seemed to have lost their heritage", said Lillian, who is also a teacher.

The channel broadcasts 14 hours daily on the weekends, with seven hours of content shown each day. Content is pulled from Television Jamaica (TVJ) and the Creative Production and Training Centre, the Allens said, under contracts with the local media houses.

Among other programmes, "we air 'Hill and Gully Ride', 'Ring Ding Again' (and) we also do a weekly news round-up of what is happening in Jamaica," Lillian said. The news round-up is produced by TVJ, she said.

The channel is broadcast on Sky Channel 192 "with a personal reach of 1.5 million viewers," according to the couple.

"We broadcast Jamaican and the rest of the Caribbean programmes to promote Jamaica and its fellow Caribbean neighbours."

With the diaspora as its niche market, the Allens are hoping local companies will have added opportunity to pushed their products to the UK migrant population.

"Close to 90 per cent of the Caribbean diaspora have subscription with Sky and since they are our target market, that's why we are on that platform as well," Lillian said.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com