Columbus Communications acquired Karib Cable in early 2013.

With the announcement by cable television provider FLOW that some of the channels in its line-up were removed for legal reasons, the question of whether Karib Cable provided content illegally to its customers has arisen.

“I am not in anyway at all saying that Karib Cable broadcast any illegal channels. I want to make that extremely clear,”Shelly Ann Hee Chung, FLOW’s vice-president, sales and marketing for the eastern Caribbean told I-Witness News when asked on Wednesday whether Karib Cable had provided content illegally.

“Please, we are not saying that. We are saying that we have a commitment to broadcast what is legally available, what our partners have provided agreement for and what we have in fact entered into arrangements to do,”FLOW’s Country Manager, Christopher Gordon, told I-Witness News in the same interview.

Columbus Communications, owners of FLOW, acquired Karib Cable in early 2013.

Under the ownership of Columbus Communications, Karib Cable continued to offer channels that it removed this month, when FLOW made major changes to its line-up.

Gordon said FLOW’s approach to providing content legally cleared for a market, can create benefits for the region.

“Years ago, the Caribbean was seen as a haven for piracy. Businesses in the cable industry or programmers would not look at the Caribbean as a region worth their time to develop relevant content,” he told I-Witness News.

Gordon further said that with 600,000 customers, Columbus is the   largest video cable operator in the region.

“… through work over many years, … we have actually worked with them to provide relevant Caribbean specific channels,” he said  in reference to content providers.

He used ESPN Caribbean as an example, adding that in addition to soccer, the channel also broadcasts cricket and Caribbean T-20 cricket.

Gordon also spoke of HBO Caribbean, which broadcast in English, although content providers generally supply the Caribbean with content in Spanish.

“We have done work with HBO to provide a one hundred per cent English feed, HBO Caribbean, which is available to our customers, and it is through our partnership with our content programmers and partners over time we are able to do things like that.

“I just provide those two examples to see what the long-term benefits are in following the rules, respecting the regulatory environment in a particular country, and also respecting those programming rights that we have.”

But asked why FLOW, which is a larger company than Karib Cable, cannot provide the content that Karib Cable did, Gordon said: “I am not trying to skirt around the question. What I am saying very clearly and consistently is that we have an obligation to ensure that the concert we broadcast is what is legally available to St. Vincent.”

Hee Chung further said: “As you said, we are the bigger provider. Who has to set the precedent? We do. Because if it is we who are setting the benchmark, because remember we are now setting the context. Smaller provider are looking at what we do … and if it is we do the wrong thing, that is going to come back and jeopardise our ability to negotiate and enhance the offerings,” she said.

Minister of Telecommunication, Sen. Camillo Gonsalves told a press conference on Monday  that during a meeting, executives from Columbus indicated to him that some of the channels that were being offered, could no longer, for legal reasons, be offered, and should not have been offered.

They said that while it is possible for a small enterprise to offer a channel and not catch the attention of that channel, it is very difficult for a large multinational corporation to do the same thing, the minister told reporters.

FLOW’s Country Manager, Christopher Gordon, left, and Shelly Ann Hee Chung, vice-president, sales and marketing for the eastern Caribbean. (IWN photos)
FLOW’s Country Manager, Christopher Gordon, left, and Shelly Ann Hee Chung, vice-president, sales and marketing for the eastern Caribbean. (IWN photos)

4 replies on “Did Karib Cable offer channels illegally?”

  1. “But asked why FLOW, which is a larger company than Karib Cable, cannot provide the content that Karib Cable did, Gordon said: “I am not trying to skirt around the question. What I am saying very clearly and consistently is that we have an obligation to ensure that the concert we broadcast is what is legally available to St. Vincent.”

    This Lady again trying to talk to us like we are fools. If Karib Cable showed channels that were illegal then come out and say so, and stop talking to people like we are fools.And then she is saying that a bigger company can’t offer the channels? what kind of sense does that make. Flow is going to be worst than Karib cable, they are corporation that do not care about there customers only milking people.

    We need to be careful of corporations, like Flow, Digicel and Lime and always give incentives to independence. Vincentians I feel sorry for you all, this lady is here telling us that they are going to be worst than Karib Cable and that is some how a good thing for customers. Can you imagine that? Sometimes I just have to shake my head.

  2. You know, after reading this article about Carib Kable broadcasting channels that are legal or illegal, it rises suspicions because I myself worked in the telecommunications industry in Canada for a company called Eastlink. Now about 2 to 3 years ago, the company announced that they will be going digital onwards. So what most people don’t know is that it saves a the company money and at the same time maximize profits. The reason for that is simple, there are alot of customer that have illegal hookups(which we call free cable) will no longer be able to get that convenience. So in turn, they control what you watch and can do whatever they want like shuffle around channels like BET and other favorite channels and put them in different packages so you pay more. So my point is am an engineering technician, Most channels I notice we get on the analog side Karib Cable has no problem broadcasting them. But as soon as these giant companies flip the switch, then Karib Cable cannot get them. So the biggest question is WHY? My gut is telling me that Karib Cable is somehow not going through the proper procedures my legal means of acquiring those channels. So YES, I believe that they getting these channels illegally. If you agree and I make sense, please post how you feel about it

  3. Peter Binose says:

    Send Gonsalves cousin Senator Julian Francis in, Mr Fixit, he will sort it all out for them.

  4. Urlan Alexander says:

    I love the way them FLOW people using the diplomatic route,\ when questioned whether or not Karib Kable was broadcasting channels illegally:

    “I am not in anyway at all saying that Karib Cable broadcast any illegal channels…We are saying that we have a commitment to broadcast what is legally”
    Seems like they understand the language of the powers that be in a very quick manner, Way to go FLow.

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