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Sunday 15 September 2019
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International telcos support local film

Machel Montano and Natalie Perera in the local film Bazodee.
Machel Montano and Natalie Perera in the local film Bazodee.

Whether or not you’re au courant with the local film and television industry, a quick search on Google will bring up titles such as The Cutlass, Green Days by the River, Bazodee, God Loves the Fighter and more. And while there are state organisations like the TT Film Company (FilmTT) leading the charge when it comes to developing the film and audiovisual sector at home and beyond our shores, the question is, are these films being aired, especially here at home?

Flow, the leading cable provider in the country, welcomes local content creators with open arms, especially on its video-on-demand (VOD) platform. Cindy Gatt, Flow’s director of marketing, says the cable company is very supportive of all local producers who come its way.

“We offer all local producers the opportunity to have their local films of series placed on our VOD platform.”

And there isn’t any focus on genre or theme, just the fact that the content is local.

“We don’t only support one type, but welcome all.”

Flow has over 220 channels, and with the highest market share in terms of its costumer base, its revenue model when it comes to local producers is also clear.

“We give the producer 100 per cent of the revenue from the buys by viewers. It’s our transactional service by video-on-demand,” said Gatt.

A scene from the local film A Story about Wendy.

Flow has aired local films such as A Story About Wendy and The Weekend, both by Sean Hodgkinson, as well as My Name is Ali by Nicholas Clarke, a documentary short on a Lebanese gyro maker living in Trinidad, to name a few. When it comes to television, the cable company has aired Caribbean Top Model, Cup of Joe and more.

Turning the spotlight to the mobile operator, Digicel, this telco sees localising its content as much as it can, in its territories of operations, as a priority. For CEO Jabbor Kayumov, it’s not only about providing the best content to its customers but also creating local content.

“Where we have the ambition to be is to start providing our customers with content, and why we have this ambition is that we are on a journey to know our customers better than anybody. We did it already during Carnival when we launched a campaign called, Carnival Proud.”

This then alerted the telco to the opportunity to create local content.

"We read our customers’ needs and saw the national pride with that campaign. We gave them good local content.”

The Digicel Carnival Proud campaign was run on social media and the brand invited its community to share videos that captured its Carnival experience. The response was so positive that this has led the brand to see the value in creating local content for its customer base. Kayumov says producing local content is on the horizon.

“We are working on content production that’s very local and provoking high level of interest.”

Kayumov says the telco is focussed on reading the needs of its customers when it comes to their content preference and local content is on the list.

Digicel is also a sponsor of the upcoming Carifesta XIV’s edition of the TT Film Festival. This also shows the brand’s support for local film. It’s the fourteenth year of the festival, which will see over 90 films screened in seven days, starting on August 17 at various venues around the country, including the National Academy for the Performing Arts, the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts, the Naparima Bowl and Shaw Park Cultural Complex.

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