A report by Debra Wanser for Trinidad’s Guardian.
The GT Network, a new packaged television programme loaded with local and regional content, has premiered on Synergy TV.
GT stands for “Great Things”, not “get through” as it does in T&T slang. It is the brainchild of Ancil Harris and his team at Ville Ventures Films. Harris aims to expand and grow GT into a station that will serve as a unifying platform to promote West Indian culture, music and lifestyle.
From January 2017, GT has signed on with Synergy TV for a three-hour segment every Saturday and will provide one year of content for the station.
“The entire GT programming concept is excellent and an idea whose time has come for Trinidad TV programming,” said station manager O’Brian Haynes in a brief telephone interview.
GT Network intends to provide a platform for television programmes and video content for all age group including animated series, music videos, soap operas, comedies, movies and other content all with a youth-centred and Caribbean flavour.
“To have an amalgamation of products from kids’ ‘edu-tainment’ to teenage programming, musical content and soap operas is an excellent concept. It’s a revolutionary concept and it allows a fresh approach for how we are able to consume content created by and for our market,” Haynes said.
Ville Ventures director Ancil Harris said in a statement on the network, “Our vision at GT Caribbean Network is to be that platform for young individuals to use in order build their brands and ideas, and showcase their talents. Our mission is to be the representative for the young Caribbean population to the world.”
GT will be scouting the entire world for Caribbean content as well as producing its own suite of programmes on a mass scale, separating them into the following categories: GT kids, GT Music, GT Caribbean Lifestyle, Original films, Caribbean reality, GT Drama, GT Comedy, GT Action, GT News, GT Sports, and GT Caribbean live and direct.
All GT programmes on television will have a Rating of G to PG-13.
“Whatever it may be-music, comedy, drama, sports, arts, culture, political or historical-GT will be doing it in a first-class way, making the whole Caribbean proud,” Harris said.
Previous attempts at trying to get opportunities for broadcast on major T&T television stations inspired Harris and his team. They’ve experienced being stymied by red tape and a general lack of interest from local programming managers.
This has not stopped GT from pushing their content forward. Harris has been able to develop relationships with several other content providers facing similar challenges in their respective islands.
GT Network has been working quietly and diligently behind the scenes to create content and sign content sharing agreements with fellow small to medium-sized local production companies in other Caribbean islands.
Some of these content collaborations include Vashafierce, Life In Vincy hosted by Vashell Glasgow from St Vincent and the Grenadines; a newly premiered vlog-styled show, Simple Jah Nette, by popular vlogger Jah-Nette from Guadeloupe; and out of Barbados the teenage Caribbean drama, Abiola, which tells the story of 15-year-old Abiola Adams who has to make adjustments after she is transferred from a private school to a public school.
While GT Network is now showing every Saturday from 10 am-1pm on Synergy TV, its availability also stretches across the Caribbean via a network of regional distribution deals on Digicel Play, Flow and other providers.
GT Network has begun to receive interest in sponsorship, with their focus on small to medium-sized sponsors, but with an openness to larger companies locally and regionally who may be interested in getting in early on the fast-expanding interest that has been building with audiences throughout the Caribbean.
“We will appreciate any co-operation that will be afforded to us,” said Harris.
“Our intentions are to build an industry within the Caribbean for young people to express themselves freely and creatively. We will always need support to do that, but at least we took the initiative and created a space for ourselves and the stuff we like. Now it’s up to companies if they and their products want to join us in our space.”
More info: Find GT Network online: @gtcaribbeannetwork | https://villeventures.com/