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Dehring to launch new cable company next year

Published:Sunday | March 27, 2016 | 3:46 AMTameka Gordon
Former Lime chief executive officer and chairman of Lime, Chris Dehring

A new privately owned Jamaican cable company, Digital Interactive Services Limited (DISL), says it expects to roll out operations islandwide by the first quarter of 2017.

The company is the brainchild of Chris Dehring, a former chief executive officer and chairman of telecommunications provider LIME, and David Cassanova, with banker Peter Reid and entertainer Orville 'Shaggy' Burrell among its directors.

"We have all of our approvals," Dehring told Sunday Business in an interview last Thursday.

DISL will trade as ReadyTv at its launch.

The company has been granted an islandwide special subscriber television licence that will allow it to use both wired and wireless technology to deliver multiple television channels to its customers across Jamaica.

That brings to 50 the number of local cable operators, according to information posted on the Broadcasting Commission's website.

DISL is targeting the "under-served", Dehring said of a market characterised by persons who he believe cannot afford the high cost of cable service now offered by the dominant players.

For him, this translates to some 350,000 households that the company is hoping to attract to its service.

"It's digital platform. Most people in Jamaica have never seen a digital image on their television set because they don't have either digital set or digital free-to-air," he said, noting that the company will enter at a price point that is the most affordable when compared to the larger players.

"There are many ways to be the most affordable. For instance, you may subscribe for an entire channel or you may subscribe for just a programme on that channel," the businessman said.

The company has the capability to offer 200 audio and video channels, but the full list of what will be packaged is still to be formulated, Dehring said.

MORE AFFORDABLE PACKAGES

"What we are going to do is ensure that we can really penetrate the masses of those who can't afford cable simply because of how programmes are packaged or simply because of the cost of those packages," he said.

Dehring said the company also hopes to show programmes developed by local entre-preneurs and is actively pursuing arrangements along these lines.

Some 80 persons will be employed initially, with full build out expected to determine how many more will be needed, said marketing, sales and distribution manager, Cortia Bingham.

Company office documents lists Gauntlet Cassanova, Orville Burrell, Peter Reid, Gerald Borely, Henry Johanson and Christopher Dehring as directors of the company, which was registered in 2008.

In a release, DISL also announced that it has retained the services of securities dealer Mayberry Investments Limited to act as the company's lead financial adviser.

Dehring will lead the operations as president and chief executive officer.

The focus of the company's offering will be ReadyTv, which is a television service that will give Jamaicans the opportunity to experience a new way of accessing cable television with the aim of far-reaching affordability, the statement said.

ReadyTv will employ the very latest in digital technology to eventually offer over 200 entertainment, informational and educational channels, it said.

Chief executive officer of Mayberry, Gary Peart, said they stood ready "to work with yet another cutting-edge company poised to change the dynamics of its market," indicating that it presents opportunities for investors, customers and other stakeholders.

Dehring said he has worked with Mayberry for all his business life and "I have had a track record of success with them as far back as my days with Dehring, Bunting and Golding."

DISL operates out of an office in New Kingston.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com