This is our first major content distribution deal for someone else’s content. We have done deals with Imeem and Vuze involving our own content but this deal is more akin to Hulu signing a network like MTV, with Realvibez being Hulu. Read the press release on the Realvibez Blog at Realvibez Signs Partnership Agreement With Reggae Entertainment Television (RE TV).
RE TV is owned by the largest media group in Jamaica and has content going back to 2003. We actually sponsored their very first high school tour to promote safe sex and HIV/AIDS awareness so we have history.
One of the things that we had decided early on was that our core competency was never television and we would not seek to launch a linear television channel, but we always expected to partner with a channel.
We identified a number of potential television partners who we felt would want a wider reach for their content if they could make more money without having to do too much extra work. This deal with RE TV is the culmination of months of negotiating and began with my presentation at the Caribbean Media Conference in October 2007 in Jamaica.
At the conference I spoke about new push nature of the web – pushing content to where people already are instead of spending money to pull people to a central site. I knew that the audience was made up of senior managers and executives from Caribbean television stations and so I then outlined how our company was willing to partner with established stations to distribute their content online and monetize it. The International Business Development Manager for Reggae Entertainment Television (RE TV) approached me right after the panel discussion and asked me how soon we could meet.
I said the next morning.
That meeting laid the foundation for our agreement. The agreement could have taken much longer if the CEO of RE TV had not made this a top priority. Too often we initiate discussions with a company for a potential strategic partnership but the other company relegates the talks to low priority.
The priority level is obvious because of the length of time it takes to return emails, phone calls or send documents. It has been the worst for us when dealing with our own Jamaicans. They seem not to believe young Jamaicans could actually be doing something significant. RE TV was the opposite, thy treated us like a valued potential partner and made sure to give this deal high priority.
In comparison to some of our other stalled deals, it took us 48 hours to start and close the Imeem partnership deal and 24 hours to start and close the YouTube deal!
These companies obviously placed a much higher priority on reaching an agreement with us. I am sure more Caribbean companies will take us more seriously going forward and especially once we announce the YouTube agreement next week.
All online video ventures are concerned about content acquisition – more content = more pageviews = more advertising revenue.
The cost of developing unique content vs. licensing content from professional sources with experience matters and partnering with an established brand is doubly beneficial.
Lastly, it is our dream to allow more of the over US$1.2 billion generated by Reggae music per year to make it back to Jamaica. The UN released a report in May that calculated that only US$300 million of that money made it back to Jamaica.
This deal will be a a role in increasing that share and contributing to the development of Jamaica, something we have always had as our #1 priority.
Realvibez is a multinational brand that unites music, technology and everyday island life. Realvibez chronicles the best in Caribbean music, events and pop culture in a fully integrated scheme that includes a dynamic website, partner channels, events and merchandise that reaches forward to represent a generation savvy to global brands and an increasingly wired lifestyle. It was founded by two Jamaican brothers, David and Robert Mullings, during their MBA program at the University of Miami at the ages of 20 and 21. Realvibez has merchandise deals with artists such as T.O.K. and manages a leading online Caribbean video portal, Realvibez.tv. Realvibez recently released the first Caribbean video Facebook application.