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Is TTT a viable Enterprise?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Just when you thought that the multi-billion-dollar failure of Petrotrin would have taught our Government a lesson, which is, that Government should not be involved in running any business that competes with free enterprise, they up and decide to make a grand entrance into the world of news.

According to the new Communication Minister, Stuart Young, the newly rebranded TTT will have a one-hundred-per cent accurate news department.

Apart from the obvious conflict with traditional journalism, does Mr Young truly believe that anyone will prefer to watch government news over the ones that they already exist? The notion of having the Government as your boss is clearly going to skew the news, as it did in the days of the original TTT – irrespective of who the news manager is. For example, what if a TTT reporter unearths a breaking story about corruption in Government, will TTT News cover it impartially or will they bury it in order to save their jobs and to avoid embarrassing their bosses in Government? Moreover, does Government’s involvement compromise freedom of the press, something that the Constitution eschews?

Furthermore, since there is a hefty price tag attached to this misadventure, is the public willing to pay for Government to start hiring high-priced news people away from the private sector? And will any journalist worth their salt be willing to compromise their journalistic ethics and sellout to the Government? What happens if the People’s National Movement (PNM) Government loses the next election, will the entire news staff be fired and a new crew loyal to the new government be installed?

Let us assign TTT to the dustbin of history where it rightfully belongs; it is from a zeitgeist that no longer exists. The halcyon days of a monopolistic television station that, as Rochard, the old TTT sales manager once said, was like a license to print money, are over. A different era is upon us; one where every shack has a big screen high definition Smart television with surround sound and wi-fi connectivity; one where viewers can watch the latest movies from Netflix or purchase them on Blu-Ray discs.Surveys have shown that television viewership is on the decline; demographics indicate that the younger generation prefers

using computers and handheld devices over traditional television. That means that as the older generation dies off, TTT’s viewership will gradually decline. Why are we building a company based on a built-in obsolescent model of viewership?

Lastly, after spending sparse funds from the treasury to fund this experiment, what if it is a complete failure and becomes a drag on the economy, will TTT become the next Petrotrin, or as energy Minister Franklin Khan characterised it: a black hole? The definition of a black hole is a star that has collapsed upon itself from which all matter is sucked in; that is also going to be the definition of the new TTT.

Taxpayers will pay billions to fund it, billions more to keep it running and billions to retrench the workers when it folds.



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