Entertainment: Your Homeland In Your Living Room

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Over 242 new immigrants arrive in Toronto every day. One of the biggest challenges you all face is feeling like a stranger in a strange land. Feelings of separation can lead to anxiety and loss of confidence. But in this age of global communications, there is no reason to be disconnected with what’s happening back in your homeland. There may be no better cure for when you’re feeling alone and homesick than watching a familiar daytime drama, game show or soap opera in your first language.

Canadian multicultural channels like OMNI offer programs in many languages, so you can connect with your own ethnic community in Canada. And many international channels are now available on cable. But for variety and selection, no one can really compete with JumpTV (www.JumpTV.com). This service, which calls itself “The World’s Online Television Network” offers more than 240 channels from over 65 countries.

Wherever you have internet access, you can watch JumpTV with family and friends. JumpTV has subscribers in over 100 countries who view channels on their online network via ordinary Internet connections on their home computers, laptops, Internet-enabled televisions, mobile phones and video game consoles.

The company has been in existence for several years, but in May 2005, perceiving that the long talked about conversion between television and the internet was at hand, Toronto’s G. Scott Paterson took over as CEO of Jump TV. At that time they had 5 employees and were offering 22 channels. The company made the decision to only do “exclusive” licensing from that point onward – so that the programming they offered would only be available through Jump TV.

“Ethnic television is not an if-you-build-it-they-will-come proposition,” says Paterson. “It is a proven business. All the major carriers are racing to add ethnic television to their line-ups.”

“Less than ten channels out of JumpTV’s 240 now are not exclusive,” says Paterson. “We built the business in 3 phases. One was building channel partnerships. Once we had more channels than EchoStar – which is the satellite-to-home dish network in the US (they have 146 channels) – then every media company in the world started taking us seriously. We are continuing to grow at two channels per week – and we expect to have about 45 bundles up by the end of 2007. After that, we focused on our user experience -the ease of use, the quality of the stream, the merchandising – giving a real strong value proposition to the consumer by every measurement you can think of.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars creating what is not quite yet the world’s best user experience – but six months from now we’re hoping it will be.”

“By way of channels we went after Latin America first- the biggest Diaspora in the world – obviously with 60 million Hispanics in the United States. We offer the number one channel from virtually every Latin American country. Europe has had massive immigration of people from the Middle East and nobody has as strong an Arabic package as we do. We’re very strong in south Asia, we’re filling out in Indonesia, but still we have lots of room to grow in the Far East. Not many African channels are available on cable or satellite outside their own country – but we think there’s a big opportunity there. Europe – places like Turkey, Romania, the Balkans, and Hungary – we’re very strong. Right now we’re really trying to beef up Russia. We have a couple channels. We think that will get much bigger. We will deliver French, German and Italian in due course, but they weren’t our first target because so many European channels are available inexpensively elsewhere.”

“We’re going deeper into the market than cable or satellite. For instance you can get TV Chile on Rogers, but we have five additional Chilean channels. You can get FCTAsia on Rogers, but we’ve got another nine Indian channels. It’s a bundle business and the goal is to take advantage of the cost structure being cheaper on the internet.

Now we’re adding complementary content – like radio stations from other countries. Pay Per View, Video-On-Demand and PVR download options are coming soon. So if you’re about to buy your ethnic package now you can also get the top radio stations. We’re adding TV shows that aren’t just part of the channels, we’re adding movies dubbed in that language, and we’re adding kid’s animation. We hear all over the world that the number one way people teach their kids a language is cartoons. They’re small words, simple syllables. So now people don’t have to worry about children losing touch with their first language. Our whole kid’s initiative is quite interesting.”

Jump TV Marketing Specialist Jules Graham-Hood agrees. “Someone shouldn’t be forced to give up their heritage or their connection or their programs. People don’t want their kids to lose the connection with their homeland and Jump TV gives people that opportunity.”

Paterson says with a smile, “We’re now moving into phase three which is all about subscribers.”

There are no set-up fees to the individual subscriber, just your monthly channel or bundle charge. If you’re on a tight budget, the subscription costs – which start at about $11.25 per month (or $22 per month for channel bundles) – on top of the necessary internet connection, may be a little expensive. But the peace of mind that it gives you can make it all worthwhile. And once you’re settled in and have a good job, the price is so easy to afford there’s almost no reason not to subscribe.

Graham-Hood adds, “We’re getting quite involved in the community. New immigrants often join associations and community groups when they first arrive to Canada; which provides them with an opportunity to meet other people from their homeland making their transition period much more comfortable. These associations provide newcomers with a variety of community outreach programs to help them settle in their new country. There’s high demand, but these programs often aren’t well-funded. That’s where JumpTV gets involved. We’ve created a fundraising campaign that gives back to these groups and centres. There are no costs for community groups to register. We give a $5 reward to your group for each new subscriber that registers for JumpTV using a unique promo code. Interested organizations and individuals should visit www.jumptv.com, e-mai l support@jumptv.com or call Jump TV at 905-206-1669 for more information.”

From your new home in Canada, you can now watch your favorite television programs from the old country, see daily news and feel truly connected. And there’s no longer any need for your family to lose touch with your heritage, because you can bring it right into your living room.

See a story on JumpTV from Report on Business Television

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