ICTA seeks public view on future of local TV

| 08/04/2014

(CNS): The body responsible for regulating TV broadcasting is asking for public input on redefining the future of local television. People are being asked by the ICTA to consider questions on the primary issues, set out in a paper published Tuesday, relating to how local content is delivered and what it means. At present all of the licensed TV providers who charge a subscription to their customers should deliver some local free television but the obligation was written into the licence almost a decade ago. Faced with significant changes in how TV is now provided, the regulator says it needs to be reviewed and asks if it is still even appropriate to require licensees to provide free local programming.

The Information Communication and Technology Authority said it is considering whether the local television service obligation is still fit for purpose and is asking the community to submit thoughts, comments, ideas and general input by 7 May. This will inform the recommendations the regulator will make to the government on amendments to the current licences and the introduction of regulations to govern the TV sector.

The authority is asking first and foremost whether the public believes, given the cost of producing original programming, whether television service licensees should still be obligated to provide any kind of local television service. The regulator said that it is unlikely that any TV service provider would produce local TV programmes without being obligated. 

The ICTA is also asking how local content should be defined, if there should be a quality standard by which the content is measured, and if so, what should it be and who would assess whether it meets the standard.

How many hours per day of local content should each licensee provide and when should it be shown, are further questions raised by the ICTA in the paper. The regulator is also asking for input on how much of the local programming should be original and if licensees should be obligated to commission a certain percentage of content from local producers.

Given that most of the TV providers are now utilising the internet or digital technology to provide their programming, how customers and local people received the free local TV also remains open to question.

The ICTA said the discussion about what local television provision means for those living here is an important issue of public interest and urged people to submit their views. The ICTA said it is focused on how the current TV subscription service providers should deliver free local TV, exactly what that local TV should be and whether or not the requirement is still appropriate.

The ICTA said there is currently an obligation on five licensees, Infinity (known as C3), Digicel, LIME, WestTel (also referred to as Logic) and WestStar, to provide some type of "public local television service". Calling for contributions, the ICTA added that review does not cover the general non-local television content provided by those TV licence holders. It also stated that the input paper does not deal with regulation relating to images, the language broadcast, or whether or not the Cayman Islands' current copyright legislation should be amended, as it ducked out of the current broadcast battles between LIME, WestStar and HBO.

All input on the paper, which can be found on the ICTA website here and posted below should be sent in writing to the ICTA by no later than 5pm on 7 May. You can call the ICTA to request a hard copy via post. 

Submissions may be e-mailed to consultations@icta.ky or by post to: Information and Communications Technology Authority, P.O. Box 2502, Grand Cayman KY1-1104, CAYMAN ISLANDS.

Hand delivered to Information and Communications Technology Authority, 3rd Floor, Alissta Towers, 85 North Sound Road, Grand Cayman, CAYMAN ISLANDS or faxed to: (345) 945-8284

The authority said all submissions will be posted on its website at www.icta.ky within 5 days of the closing date of this call for input unless such input is considered by the Authority as being confidential.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If there was money in local content, there would be more of it.

    This market cannot sustain multiple news outlets

    (cause this is really what we are talking about)


    Cayman 27 has a monopoly on tv news and still cant turn a profit.


  2. Anonymous says:

           Yes ,there should be more local programming.If the ICTA does not insist on this ,then there will be no local programming.Recently the Secondary schools held their sports meet .This event took place over three days and it was not until the end of the third day that we saw any coverage on local Tv .None of the events were carried live or tape delayed,and the total coverage was less than 5 minutes.In addition to more sports coverage there is also opportunity to carry productions of the local drama societies,and musical performances.In addition to more local programming ,there should also be more free over the air channels.I believe these could be a joint venture of all the tv providers and not necessarily a requirement that each of them provide an additional channel or channels.If it is too costly to provide over the air channels for free ,perhaps the providers can offer a vey basic cable package for free ,for example a cable box  with maybe two or three free channels .These could include CITN,The Government channel,TBS (variety),and perhaps a church channel.Just my thoughts on this subject ,now let's here some more suggestions from others out there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There should actually be a local tv channel with all local programs. Erasing the local content would mean no jobs for local broadcast journalist and broadcast support staff. If you want to erase an entire career path for Caymanians then yes do not insist on local content. If you do have the development of the Cayman Islands in mind then you know what is the right thing to do. Is there really a question, or a question to make yourselves feel better about cutting local tv, by the pretence of a 'democratic' vote?

    The problem with current local tv is that capable broadcasters/journalist were never properly compensated or adequately developed in order to have a strong local television. The ones that were were smothered by local uneducated superiors who were jealous and promptly got rid of them. We still have an unused vacant televison studio upstairs Radio Cayman that the government paid for and then forgot about….. 


  4. Anonymous says:

    There is local content?

  5. noname says:

    Yeah, I say get ride of the Local TV requirement. Who cares!?! No one watches it since satellite offers way better quality HD channels, better DVR and most of all… more programming for a much cheaper price! That is what it is about at the end of the day, getting what you are paying for. Who wants to give local TV a subsidy? Because that is basically all this requirement does. Stand alone and make your own money as a TV station, don't ask subscribers of some terrible quality cable systems to help pay for it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Local content is important, but so is quality. At the moment wehave the first and not the second.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Many people in Cayman do not read news, so television is an important mechanism for keeping politicians accountable. Local programming must continue. Program quality may be an issue now, but in time it may improve. It is a small contribution and it needs to be made.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If it makes things cheaper, and it will, my strong preference is for no local content requirement whatsoever.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can it make it cheaper when two of the three companies aren't providing any anyway?

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, be required to make it will make things more expensive and very few people want it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Local content? I never watch it.


    Disband the ITCA and let the free market decide what is on the tele.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The rules should be the same for all operators with the best interests of consumers in mind.  It is not ICTAs job to favour business over consumer in any case.

  11. Anonymous says:

    how much local content????…….waste ot time….tv is dead….long live the internet and the freedom to watch what you want and when you want……..

  12. Anonymous says:

    There is no local tv, unless you mean a morning show about nothing or serious illnesses, a weather lady that does not prepare, then forwarding cbs and a lot of church junk.

    And there are more commercials than programming.


  13. Whodatis says:

    Sorry ICTA, you lost all credibility as a worthwhile or concerned entity when you initiated and enabled the mechanisms that are currently eavesdropping on every one of our electronic communications.

    • Anonymous says:

      And stood by quietly while commercial TV service providors re-sold pirated signals to their customers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed Whodatis, and they should stop sending the rays that make us all paranoid too! Or is the pending full moon and eclipse doing that? Soconfusing…