Business
JM | Dec 17, 2020

Radio Jamaica cuts 107 posts in reorganisation exercise

/ Our Today

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Three new divisions established to operate media group, weekly overseas publications to be discontinued in US and Canada

Broadcast House, home to the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.

The companies in the RJRGLEANER Communications Group have cut 107 positions, including five managerial, as part of its reorganisation exercise which has seen the establishment of three newly established divisions to run its operations spanning television, radio, print and new media.

In addition to these changes, the weekly overseas publications in the United States and Canada have been discontinued in favour of an electronic option. The reorganisation exercise, which was completed December 11, was primarily driven by the negative impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as the need for continued changes as the global media and communications industry continues to be transformed.

According to Radio Jamaica Ltd (RJR), the listed parent company of RJRGLEANER, “the exercise which was done over several months saw some positions being made redundant, impacting 107 workers, five of them being managers. In May, the group had reported that due to a significant downturn in revenues in some areas of its business, it had been forced to lay off almost 100 workers for 120 days. While there has been some improvement in the last few months, revenues have still not returned to pre-COVID levels.”

In a statement released to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, where its shares are traded, RJR pointed out that the reorganisation exercise was conducted with extensive consultation and negotiation with unions representing workers, with some of those talks taking place at the Ministry of Labour. The media group placed on record its appreciation for the sacrifice made by the workers and their unions.

Group operations morphed into three new divisions

During the period of reorganisation, RJR made changes to several of its business units and approaches to be more agile, more competitive and more efficient. To this extent, the group operations have been morphed into three newly formed divisions.

“There has also been investment in new data management and publication systems to improve the consumer experience with our electronic publications, while increasing revenue generating opportunities.”

Radio Jamaica Ltd

The new changes will see the Radio and Television business of the group being managed as a broadcast division with the print and online units now being managed as an integrated print and online division. In addition, the group’s technology activities have also been brought together in a technology division focused on the full digitalisation of the entire operations and the enabling of a higher level of digital output.

“This focus has seen investments in new management, customer relationship and production systems that will improve customer tracking and servicing, provide data analytics to aid management decisions, as well as delivering data analytics to clients to assist in decision making. There has also been investment in new data management and publication systems to improve the consumer experience with our electronic publications, while increasing revenue generating opportunities,” the RJR statement read.

Driving growth for print and online business

Given that tighter planning and elements of publication rationalisation along the lines driven by closer data analytics have improved aspects of print and online operations, RJR disclosed that a new digital marketing and sales unit has also been developed. This unit will accelerate business growth in the Gleaner’s print and online business.

The North Street offices of The Gleaner Company (Media) Ltd.

The overseas publications have also been revamped with a discontinuation of the weekly printing of newspapers in the United States and Canada in favour of electronic publications with special printed and online publications being done around special diaspora events. In the broadcast segment of the business, RJR reports that the local programming content strategy, which has served its television arm, Television Jamaica (TVJ) well prior to and through the pandemic, will continue to be built upon.

The media group explained that “TVJ is poised and ready to take advantage of the imminent announcement of the change from analogue television broadcasting to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in Jamaica”.

The switch to digital broadcasts will provide consumers with multiple high quality television services from TVJ.

Diversification continues with two equity investments

Diversification, which is an important pillar of the strategy moving forward, is a continuing focus of the RJR group. To this extent, RJR, at the end of November, took a minority stake of 10 per cent in the digital marketing company, ePost Caribbean Limited.

In addition, the group has increased its equity position in Jamaica Holdings LLC, operator of e-commerce business, Gustazos to 50 per cent. This increased share equity becomes effective this month.

In closing, RJR stated, “the group is confident that with this reorganisation and other activities it is poised for growth and strengthening in 2021 and beyond. The RJR group comprises brands such as TVJ, Ispotmedia, TVJ Sports Network, Jamaica News Network, Reggae Entertainment Television, The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited, The Star, Radio Jamaica 94FM, FAME 95 FM, HITZ 92FM, POWER 106FM, MUSIC 99FM, Multi Media Jamaica Limited and Gleaner Online Limited.   

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