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Digicel, SportsMax outline expansion plans

Published:Monday | September 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter

The recent Digicel-SportsMax merger is expected to foster a period of rapid expansion for the new entity, which could see several new features and offerings added for regional subscribers.

The acquisition of SportsMax earlier this week by the telecommunications providers raised several questions relating to the future operations of the sports-content providers. From the perspective of both parties, however, it seems to be business as usual, only on a larger scale.

SportsMax CEO Oliver McIntosh said the merger would allow the company, backed by the financial muscle of new owners, to be able to branch into new areas like High Definition Programming, while providing new content on various platforms.

"For viewers in the Caribbean who love sports, all it will mean is more content in more ways," McIntosh said at a press conference convened at sports bar Usain Bolt's Tracks & Records. "Some of the changes will include bringing content on to mobile platforms, broadband platforms and more games from different sports," he added.

"For us, it's an exciting period because it now allows the team to do more things we always wanted to do; with a partner like Digicel, it means there is an infinite amount of things that we can do together."

COMPLETE COMMUNICATIONS

In addition to acquiring the St Lucia-based International Media Content (IMC), parent company of cable content providers SportsMax, Digicel recently acquired local cable company Telstar, and last year, Caribbean Fibre Holdings, a provider of optical cables. The overall aim, Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien explained, is to become a major player in the complete communications market.

"From a Digicel perspective, we are the number-one mobile company, our ambition is to become the number-one complete communications company," O'Brien said.

"Over the last few weeks, we have been expanding in that particular area, recently with the acquisition of Telstar, which is the second-largest subscriber television company here in Jamaica.

"We brought a company called GCN as well, giving us a lot of underground fibre, and now we have added the premier sport-content provider in the Caribbean to our offerings. It's all a part of the diversification strategy to take us to being the number-one communications company."

With Digicel expected to complete the islandwide expansion of the acquired Telstar in a projected three years, how-ever, the future of the com-pany's association with current providers FLOW remained unclear. O'Brien pointed out that all current contracts would be honoured, but could give no assurances of a future association.