You are here
A look at CarnivalTV, 2013
When last we saw the CarnivalTV crew in March 2011 (http://ow.ly/i9uYB), they were riding high on the success of an immaculately streamed, high-definition video production of much of Carnival 2011.
Flush with success, the boys were being cagey with the background on the project.
This time around, Paul Charles, Curtis Popplewell and Walt Lovelace, joined by Advance Dynamics partner Camille Parsons, were more open about the advances and setbacks of the last two years of work.
Twenty-two streams of live events later, some things had not changed at all.
Sponsors and advertisers are still gun-shy about participating in a live stream of Carnival events.
“Nobody is giving us any advertising for these products,” says Parsons, “but they aren’t giving anybody else the ads either.”
“We’ve done a study, a quite expensive one,” Charles adds, “on the top brands targeting the diaspora, but we don’t have the audience numbers for the streaming product to go to the top marketers.”
CarnivalTV needs to build numbers by improving the product it offers, and that means working with event producers to make its shows more accessible to a viewing audience.
In 2011, CarnivalTV won steadily escalating numbers for the online streams, with 69,000 viewers for Panorama finals, 152,000 for Dimanche Gras and 252,000 viewers for Carnival Tuesday.
When the company opened discussions with the NCBA to stream the event in 2012, the organisation demanded $4 million for the rights.
CNMG streamed Carnival Tuesday last year but the NCBA stopped the station’s stream this year in favour of its own low-resolution stream.
Last year, CarnivalTV also began to get calls from several event producers looking to put their Carnival events online. The team took meetings with people in Grenada, Antigua and St Vincent, as well as diaspora Carnivals in Boston, Miami and Brooklyn’s Labour Day celebrations.
The consistent sticking point? The cost of a live high-definition stream. Putting up an eight-hour Carnival stream with even a minimal camera crew can cost up to US$200,000, with most of that the cost of keeping a broadband feed open for the HD signal.
CarnivalTV found an ally in the festival’s fraternity in Pan Trinbago, not a stakeholder noted for its embrace of technology, but apparently one willing to listen and learn. This year, Pan Trinbago underwrote the project and won plaudits from overseas fans of the music, including a heartfelt “thank you” from the unflinching When Steel Talks Web site, which had pilloried the organisation for failing to broadcast this year’s semi-final round online.
Panorama is also the least pirated stream, perhaps because hi-fi pan aficionados are less interested in a free feed from someone’s jury rigged camera-in-front-of-the-TV setup than in high-quality sound and visuals from a national performance.
The most pirated stream was last year’s National Soca Monarch event, which Charles estimates lost roughly US$700,000 in potential income from pirate streams, which the company worked hard to knock offline.
“We have,” Charles notes with a wry smile, “a serious social perception problem when it comes to piracy.”
The company prepared a high-concept proposal for the Government at the end of 2012, pitching the packaging of Carnival for online streaming as a way to focus interest on other events and attractions during the year.
“Carnival is saturated as an event,” says Charles. “All the hotels are filled during the festival and the bands sell out, but during that time, people in the world are paying attention to us.”
“Yes,” adds Parsons. “Use the spotlight and make it brighter.”
The Government has not responded to the proposal.
Read an expanded version of this column here (http://ow.ly/adAll).
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.