Date: August 28, 2019
RJR Gleaner Communications Group Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held today August 28, 2019. The meeting began with opening remarks from the new Chairman, Joseph Matalon who started the proceedings by the usual welcoming and introductions. Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Gary Allen, began his presentation with a review of the Group’s performance. Subsequent to the performance review, Mr. Allen began stating the current environment of the media industry both globally and locally as well as the Company’s focus.
He also highlighted that locally, “Jamaica ranks top ten in the World Press Freedom rankings”. Additionally he stated that ,“Jamaica has been discussing Digital Switch Over for 10 years and still no decision.” This therefore affects their business model and does not allow the Company to effectively compete in the global sphere.
Mr. Allen noted that the Company will continue to focus on restoring profitability. Notably, the Company achieved an improvement in net profit for the first quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year closing at $24 million, compared to net losses recorded in the last financial year’s corresponding period. The Company has also placed emphasis on accelerating the implementation of Strategic Projects by changing its structure for efficiency and diversification. The Company therefore diversified Management by creating a broadcast division, focus on the implementation of strategic projects and targeting greater efficiency through digital technology. In addition, the Managing Director, highlighted that the Group will continue to maintain market leadership pillars through its strong, credible and independent journalism, strong local content as well as social responsibility.
Also highlighted at the meeting by Mr. Christopher Barnes, Chief Operating Officer (COO), were key achievements as well as future activites which include:
- World Cup presentation in HD, which inspired an increase in subscribers by 10%
- TV Coverage Enhancement
- Major Upgrade of IT network at Lyndhurst to support HD workflow
- Commissioned Print Editorial System
- Wireless networking of North Street and Lyndhurst
- Split of Advertising and Marketing at GCML
- Integration of five radio tx sites
- HD broadcast rollout feasibility well underway
Mr. Barnes also noted the Group’s strategic initiative as follows:
- Digital Transition into a Digital Switch Over (DSO). To do this, the Group continues to await policy position on the DSO as well as to evaluate DSO implementation and digitising traditional services such as archives.
- Options to expand into services with DSO (e.g. Triple Play)
- Other e-commerce investment opportunities under review
- Inventory trading for new revenue stream
- Content licensing opportunities
- Broad Restructuring
- Integration in Radio Playout and Traffic, Group accounting system, Payroll, Western Bureau Consolidation into on building.
- Transmission Enhancements
- Selling Partnerships
Furthermore, Mr. Allen spoke about the future plans of the Group:
- Continue to advocate for equitable decisions on DSO and recognize the Company’ intellectual property.
- Continue to focus on Excellent Multi- platform Content Creation
- Diversification of revenue streams
- The Group launched TVJ International, its 5th television station, on August 12, 2019 in Cayman as a 24 hour station programmed with 100% TVJ/TVJS/RETV/JNN Content
- Continue to thrust of content export strategy.
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