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Steelpan Body gave/sold broadcast rights to CNMG

Panorama exclusive broadcast rights only worth TT$125,000 and TnT Carnival overall TT$500,000?

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Global - Amongst the self-congratulatory accolades, a somewhat remarkable bit of information was revealed as When Steel Talks (WST) took in the press conference as Trinidad and Tobago ministers gave their post-carnival summary.  Not being in a position to pose any key questions, WST sat and listened.  And listened.  You know the old adage, talk less, listen more, learn a lot.  Mind you, WST was only listening in to see if there would be any follow-up or mention, of the internet/Pay-Per-View debacle over last weekend.  There was none.

Have you ever wondered how much is Carnival worth on the open market, or more specifically, in our followers’ and readers’ case - how much are the exclusive broadcasting rights for Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama worth?  And arguably, according to stakeholders, these are broadcast rights to the greatest carnival and steelband music panorama on the planet.

According to Trinidad and Tobago Information Minister Neil Parsanlal, the exclusive broadcast rights of Carnival 2010 were secured for a measly TT $500,000 - $79,744 USD.  No - that is not a typo.  These rights encompassed specifically the three main components of Trinidad and Tobago carnival - Pan, Mas and Calypso.

In this post-Cabinet press conference on February 18 at the Diplomatic Centre in St. Ann’s, north Trinidad, Information Minister Parsanlal (pictured) went on to say in the question-and-answer period that followed, quote “there was no - it wasn’t an open bid - [bidding process]; that in fact the special interest groups [Pan Trinbago, TUCO, NCC and NCBA] approached CNMG (state-owned Caribbean New Media Group) on the matter [to give CNMG the exclusive rights]."  This, coming out of the press conference, and preceded just before, with the explanation that the special interest groups had "sold" the rights to CNMG.  TUCO is the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization, NCC - the National Carnival Commission and NCBA - the National Carnival Bands Association.

Minister Parsanlal also explained that the agreed upon five hundred thousand dollars (TT $500,000 - $79,744 USD) would be disbursed to the NCC, Pan Trinbago, TUCO and NCBA - and apportioned as determined by the parties themselves.

CNMG made TT $125,000 from the licensing of broadcast rights to other media houses.  The minister said he would not divulge what CNMG made in advertising revenue, but added that there were production costs incurred in the amount of 1.5 million (TT $1,500,000) for the entire carnival season.

The minister further revealed that the original asking price by the interest groups/stakeholders (Pan Trinbago et al) for the broadcasting rights - was 3 million (TT $3,000,000 - $482,315 USD).  CNMG eventually secured all - for only TT $500,000.

A reporter on hand challenged Minister Parsanlal about the low figure of the paltry TT$500,000, also noting that perhaps Pan Trinbago et al (the interest groups), may have gotten more money for their broadcast rights, if there was an open bidding.  Parsanlal admitted (since there was no such process) in part: "we don't know"  if any other local media house in Trinidad & Tobago would have paid three million $3,000,000.

During and following the CMNG’s ill-fated attempt to broadcast the Soca Monarch and Panorama events, many of the online followers of  CNMG/CTNTWorld’s own Facebook connect stream, joked that next year’s road march in Trinidad for Carnival would be named "Buffering" because of the constant breaking down and sticking of the CNMG event feeds - for some of those paid subscribers who even got a smattering of a stream, that is.

However after this new revelation as to how cheaply the broadcasting rights were acquired, it could very well be a different or additional topic. TT $500, 000 for the exclusive broadcast rights?  Talk about taking candy from a baby...  Can someone please contact, Verizon Fios, HBO, Showtime, MTV, VH1, NBC Entertainment, BBC Entertainment, China, Japan?

Food for thought:  at TT $125,000.00 - technically speaking - either of even the three last placed steel orchestras in the finals of this year's Medium band category in Panorama - could have bought at least the broadcasting rights for the Panorama.  After all, that appears in the vicinity of what Pan Trinbago stands to collect for selling their broadcasting rights.  The prizes won by those three last-placed bands?  TT $250,000 - each.

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