ReadyTV to go national by June
Christopher Dehring, co-CEO of ReadyTV, says the first six months of operation have performed to expectations, and that the cable TV service would be broadcasting nationwide by this June, its first-year anniversary.
The company started out supplying service to a discrete market and now transmits to around six parishes, and covers a third of Jamaica.
"It started briskly then slowed down somewhat during the traditional tamarind season period, and it's picked up again in November and December so November and December have been very hectic for us," Dehring said.
However, he declined to comment on subscriptions, citing competition, but said registrations for cable service were "'moving at a fair clip" coming in at more than 100 per day, especially for the last two months.
"Some of our outlets sold out for Christmas, leaving us struggling to keep up with the demand. As more and more people use it and more of them hear about it, then it generates that much more interest, especially since a lot of people don't have an option," Dehring reported.
ReadyTV has stayed away from mainstream advertisements to promote the service. Instead, Dehring said he and his workforce of 125 have been using guerrilla marketing tactics that target social media, and 'show and tell' excursions in low-income communities like Cockburn Gardens, Denham Town and Arnett Gardens.
These and other areas where cable TV penetration are said to be low, are also sites targeted by ReadyTV for billboard ads.
MAKING CABLE AFFORDABLE
"A lot of the people we serve, or are aiming to serve, don't have a concept of what cable television is because they never thought they would be able to afford it," Dehring said, in outlining his marketing strategy.
"It's all of these communities where the common working-class Jamaican lives, but has never had an affordable option. Here, they can't afford a monthly recurring bill for cable because it's a luxury," he said.
ReadyTV is headquartered in Portmore, St Catherine. Through a tower in Coopers Hill, St Andrew, the company's signal is beamed to Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon and St Ann, parts of St Mary and the hills of Manchester.
Dehring says he is presently looking at wider coverage of St Catherine by boosting the signal to the difficult terrains of Linstead, Bog Walk and Ewarton. The next move is to install a transmitter at the Huntley tower in Manchester this will cover the rest of St Ann, Clarendon, Trelawny and St Elizabeth, he said followed by a transmitter for Flower Hill, St James, to cover western Jamaica.
ReadyTV's cable unit comes at a one-time cost of $4,500 and has 10 free channels - eight local and two overseas. For fees starting at $150 per day, $900 per week or $2,700 per month, subscribers get one of two packages of 33 channels each.
ReadyTV is covering about 35 per cent of Jamaica, according to Dehring. He said the company is now finalising loan financing for the expansion, indicating that it would be about US$3 million.