Wed | Nov 30, 2022

Verticast's CVM to have lion's share of EPL games but open to cutting deals with rivals

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2022 | 12:11 AMNeville Graham/Business Reporter
Oliver McIntosh
Oliver McIntosh

VertiCast Group says it is finalising its new management team to fully take control of the recently acquired CVM Group by mid-October. Although refusing to divulge the size of the deal or the portion of CVM Group it now owned, VertiCast Group CEO...

VertiCast Group says it is finalising its new management team to fully take control of the recently acquired CVM Group by mid-October.

Although refusing to divulge the size of the deal or the portion of CVM Group it now owned, VertiCast Group CEO Oliver McIntosh said it had the majority stake.

Incorporated in 1990, CVM-TV began operations in 1993, initially owned by a consortium formed by Community Television Systems, Videomax and Mediamix. It was acquired in 2006 by Michael Lee-Chin through Portland Holdings. Broadcasting 24 hours of news, sports and entertainment, the station has struggled for market share, with mounting debt and continues to lag a distant second to market leader Television Jamaica (TVJ).

Word started floating around at the beginning of 2022 of the possibility of the acquisition. Whispers grew louder by May 2022, when McIntosh, a former investment banker, was said to be in the market seeking to attract investors and snag about US$49 million by way of private placement.

McIntosh, who previously indicated that he wants to take the VertiCast Group public, said it would take some time to integrate both CVM and VertiCast and prove the business model. He said that the company was not likely to approach the capital markets before 2024.

“We’re still a start-up, having done so at the start of the year. We’ll need some track record behind us, and clearly, investors would probably want to see about two years of operation,” he told The Gleaner.

With the local broadcasting rights to the English Premier League (EPL) and the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the bag, McIntosh said that although he is not sure what will happen, a range of possibilities are before VertiCast and he is not ruling out collaboration with competitors.

“The whole acquisition came about over the last few weeks and we’re yet to decide which content goes where. Having two sports channels gives us options such as marketing on CVM and broadcasting on C Sport, or we could very well sell to another station,” he said.

Pressed specifically about the EPL, McIntosh said that the bulk of the benefit would go to CVM, but at the same time, there is room for other players.

“Premier League is a foundation content for our sports channel. That being said, we’re not hard and fast that we can’t broadcast some of the content elsewhere. Those decisions will be made in the next week or so,” McIntosh said, insisting that collaboration is critical for Caribbean media to secure their future.

“We all have to work together. One company can’t dominate and own all the rights, and we’ve already started to work with other companies around the region,” McIntosh said, citing collaborative efforts with Guardian Media in Trinidad, CBC in Barbados and NCL in Guyana.

Locally, McIntosh is also calling for cooperation between media houses, noting it was possible for VertiCast to collaborate the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, home of TVJ, or any other media players.

“You cannot operate in any market and say you’ll do it in a silo and not work with anybody else. I think that’s what has held back the video industry and that’s not what we’re about,” he told The Gleaner.

The real competition for Caribbean media entities lies outside the region, he insisted.

“That’s where the ‘Verti’ in our name comes from. Our vision is to create a vertically integrated broadcasting entity in that we are wide across the Caribbean and deep into the various countries where we’ll operate,” said the CEO.

McIntosh said VertiCast will offer free-to-air, linear cable, OTT, digital media and other forms of broadcast throughout the Caribbean – from French Guiana to Cuba and all the countries between.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com