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Hype TV expands to Florida

Published:Wednesday | November 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter

Local entertainment station Hype TV has entered the American market through a US$250,000 push into South Florida.

While Hype TV is making its first free-to-air trek into the US, it previously broadcast there through Direct TV's network from 2005 to 2008.

Hype TV began transmission to Broward, Dade and parts of Palm Beach County in South Florida on channel 11.3 digital broadcast TV on November 1. The expansion targets some 2.1 million viewers in the South Florida diaspora.

Locally, the content provider is transmitted on cable stations and is a strong second in the market behind Television Jamaica's RE TV, said expansion manager at Hype TV, George Walker.

The expansion is a joint-venture partnership with a Guya-nese investor, whom Walker declined to name.

Hype TV's Florida-based operation is currently staffed by five, but Walker said the count should end at 20 when the expansion is complete.

Headquartered at Seymour Avenue in Kingston, the Jamaican operations are run from a 38,000-square-foot production house with 12 staff.

A production studio is also to be added in Florida, said Walker.

"Hype TV's US operations will focus on broadcast television in Caribbean population centres and OTT in other markets," he said. OTT, or over-the-top services, typically refers to content delivered via the internet.

"We have been seeing a switch from cable, in what is called cutting the cord or using over-the-top services, so we are capitalising on that momentum," he said.

The company is looking to "provide a real platform to export and monetise local content production and generate revenue from advertising and sponsorship," Walker added.

Hype TV boasts of being the Caribbean's first 24-hour music- driven entertainment station.

Hype TV Jamaica Limited was incorporated in December 2002. Its shareholders are Johann Dawes and Maria Dawes with combined 75 per cent ownership, and Pierre Gordon with a 25 per cent stake, according to Companies Office of Jamaica records.

The company plans to enter the New York market next. It also announced, via press release, that it was in negotiations with several local TV content providers in to carry their programmes in the US, among them CPTC, 'Magnum Kings and Queens', 'Mission Catwalk' and 'Dancin' Dynamites'.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com