(CNS Business): Following the news that Cayman 27 is dropping its costly ‘Daybreak’ local morning magazine TV show, the TV arm of the new regulator OfReg has stated that this issue is entirely commercial and not a regulatory matter. “The failure of cable providers to come to an agreement with Hurley’s Media Ltd for distribution of shows like Daybreak is a commercial issue and not a regulatory matter,” said Alee Fa’amoe, the Executive Director of ICT in the newly formed Utility Regulation and Competition Office.
He said the OfReg was not partly to blame for the decision, as suggested by the TV station’s boss Randy Merren, or for the failure to establish Cayman 27 as a “must-carry” station.
Fa’amoe said each of the three operating cable TV providers has licence conditions requiring them to carry a minimum percentage of local programming, which includes such items as local talk shows, educational, cultural, and religious programming, live sporting events, government information services, and live coverage of the Legislative Assembly. But he said OfReg does not require TV providers or cable providers to produce or to carry any specific shows.
“As the regulator of ICT services in the Cayman Islands, including television broadcasting and cable TV services, OfReg acknowledges and respects the freedom of the liberalised communications market to decide what kind of local programming is of value to its customers,” Fa’amoe stated in a release. “While fully respecting the local content licence obligation, service providers must be able to enter into mutually beneficial commercial agreements for that content and be able to assemble and price their services and compete for customers.”
He added, “This ability to create products and services and to differentiate themselves from their competitors is the cornerstone of a vibrant and competitive marketplace.”
But he said nothing about the failings of some cable and TV providers to carry any local content at all, which Merren has said is one of the fundamental problems. If Hurley’s is the only local provider making the shows to meet licensing requirements and trying to save local TV, he is at a distinct competitive disadvantage.