Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 2nd 2014 Contents A25
The National Carnival Bands
Association of T&T (NCBA) is tak-
ing a multi-pronged approach to
the business of mas as it seeks to
realise financial sustainability and
independence from the State, says
its president David Lopez.
Placing education on the front-
burner through the teaching services
of its Mas Academy, the Carnival
special interest group (SIG) was mov-
ing to elevate the knowledge and
skills set of both emerging and exist-
ing artisans with the aim of estab-
lishing a well-constituted industry.
This, he said, would go a long way
in staving off the present import
crisis of Carnival costumes from
China and Asia to this country.
But that s not where the organi-
sation s priorities end.
Ensuring that designers understood
their rights on the subject of works
of mas beyond the fixed payments
issued by band producers was a pri-
ority, too, as well as the now con-
troversial issue of media rights--both
free to air and streaming--were also
among the areas being tackled with
the aim having a well-constituted
In a T&T Guardian interview on
February 21, Lopez said it was the
latter issue that would help his organ-
isation address the ongoing debate
over financial independence for SIGs.
Revenue from the sale of media
rights for the coverage of the NCBA
events, such as King and Queen
Competition, Junior Parade of Bands
and the Parade of Bands competition
on Carnival Monday and Tuesday,
could give the governing body the
lift it needs.
While many were still unclear on
the workings and ultimate benefits
of media rights, Lopez was of the
view this area could generate millions
for an organisation like the NCBA.
"Millions! Millions of dollars!
US$20 million and more! We are
aware of the situation. We have the
Fifa model. We have the ICC model.
"Fifa does not make its money at
the gates. Fifa make their money by
rights, selling the rights! People
acquiring the rights and advertising!
That s where the money is! Unless
and until we bring our Carnival and
the mas component of that to this
level, the money will continue to leak
out," he said.
For the past two years, the NCBA
streamed all its competitions to view-
ers around the world at no cost to
those logging on.
Using the pay-per-view platform,
Lopez and his executive hoped to
generate increased revenue based on
statistics that show an estimated
200,000 international culture lovers
viewed Carnival activities last year.
It came as no surprise the audience
was based in the United States, more
specifically, the New York tri-state
Lopez, however, made it clear the
introduction of the pay-per-view
system being facilitated by Carib Link
Digital was not directed singularly
at the diaspora. The aim, he said,
was also to attract new audiences.
NCBA was also courting television
networks around the world to acquire
the rights in their geographical loca-
tion and share the "Greatest Show
on Earth" with their viewers.
Lopez tackled the now controver-
sial issues of media rights among
local media houses and said it was
not clear the NCBA needed to engage
in a public education campaign.
"Over the years, most people, in
the media in particular, feel that that
process is free. The NCBA together
with its partners (Pan Trinbago, Tuco)
are now looking at it because it s a
legal process and it has copyright
infringement aspects. Not much
money has been made from these
areas because the attitude from the
majority of the media personnel.
"They make their money at the
back end of it, but want to product
for free because over the years, the
notion has been that Carnival is in
the public domain and it is free. Pay
me $3 million for the rights! It s a
business arrangement. You going to
make back your money by selling
spots, by bringing in other media,
not feel that it is the Government
and the State funding Carnival and
I am a state media, so I automatically
have the right to shoot. That is what
we are dealing with. Works of mas
are copyrighted," he said.
"Media personnel come and say
they want it for news. We have done
our research and these pictures are
selling for as much as US$20,000.
We know that the magazines and
they are doing it for charity, but there
is advertising in the magazines. It is
an uphill battle. It will continue to
be an uphill battle. New media is
something new to us. So as we go
along, we would have to deal with
it. If we are prepared to play on the
world stage, we have to be prepared
to play by the world rules."
and worth millions
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
2013 Streaming Statistic
Big Friday 55,000 viewers
Junior Parade of Bands 35,000
Carnival Monday 60,000 viewers
Carnival Tuesday 64,300 viewers
Roxanne Omalo portrays
Goolie Ki Rani-Queen of Gold.
PHOTOS: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
from the band
TIRANA, Albania --- The International
Monetary Fund has agreed to provide
a 331 million euros (US$457 million)
loan over three years to support Alba-
nia s economic reforms.
An immediate disbursement of 26.4
million euros (US$36.4 million) will
assist Albania s plans to reform pensions,
energy, local government finances, public
administration and improve the business
The bulk of the loan will be used to
cover Albania s public debt, expected to
reach up to 75 per cent of gross domestic
product from 60 per cent last year.
The World Bank and the EU are also
likely to provide assistance to the author-
ities reform programme, according to
a statement made available Saturday.
Albania s leftist Socialist-led govern-
ment is struggling with stagnant private
credit and arrears to the private sector,
estimated at 35 billion leks (US$337 mil-
IMF gives US$457 million loan to Albania
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