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Robinson’s travel channel to tap into JTB web audience

Published:Friday | April 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon
Head of Inspire Media, Kimani Robinsion.

Kimani Robinson's new Jamaica Travel Channel (JTC) missed its roll-out deadline last year, but is now preparing to launch within weeks having struck an agreement with the Jamaica Tourist Board, to stream its content on its website.

Robinson first announced that he was developing the channel in 2013, which would show on the Flow cable network. The JTB website will be an additional platform.

He said aside from the channel's own web streaming and cable viewership, the tourist board's web stream would give JTC more targeted reach to the travel and tourist markets, while giving exposure to Jamaica's attractions and other tourism products.

"It's a mutually beneficial relationship," Robinson told the Financial Gleaner.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Robinson said the deal also allows JTB access to his television and film production crew.

The travel channel will provide the tourist board with "a constant flow of vibrant high-quality footage," said JTB's deputy director of tourism, Jason Hall. JTB will be able to stream fresh footage on its platforms, Hall told the Financial Gleaner.

"The agreement will allow for the JTB to seamlessly utilise JTC's television platform to not only speak to tourists on the island about Jamaica and its attractions, events and or a repeat visit, but will also add strategic content to the JTC's international web stream, ensuring that all its global strategies and programmes that encourage persons to "come to Jamaica" are met," Robinson said in a statement.

International visibility

JTB's director of tourism, Paul Pennicook, said since today's travellers are relying to a large extent on Internet-based platforms for destination information, the JTC provides the agency's marketing with the potential for increased international visibility.

JTC is Robinson's third broadcast venture. The first two, JNN and RETV, were sold to the RJR Group of Companies in 2008.

JTC is being piloted through his newly formed company, Inspire Media Limited, which is registered in St Lucia.

The channel should have launched last September but was delayed to allow participants to create the content they wish to present to JTC's viewers, among other issues, Robinson said.

"... A lot of the people that wanted to participate on the channel didn't have any video content, so that was the major reason," he said of the delay.

JTC will be available in approximately 25,000 hotel rooms, representing just about 90 per cent of all hotel rooms in Jamaica as well as 50 per cent of all local cable homes, he said.

"Of international importance is the fact that the channel will also broadcast monthly to millions of Internet users worldwide, as well as from the main page of the JTB's highly trafficked web portal," Robinson said.

Instead of advertisements, Inspire will be selling infomercials to earn revenue, Robinson said.

But, unlike the typical television programming mix of 24 minutes of content with six minutes of advertisements, Inspire Media will run the reverse "where it will probably be more 24 minutes of advertisements and six minutes of content in every half-hour," said the media entrepreneur. This, he added, would be the basis of the channel's appeal to advertisers.

So far, JTC has clients numbering "in the high teens," said Robinson, who again declined to state the level of investment in the channel.