MARIGOT–IOTV, the French side’s local TV station, inaugurated its new premises with a ribbon-cutting in the presence of elected officials and other invited personalities on Monday evening.
The ceremony was the culmination of a six-year journey since co-founders Laetitia Gentil and Loïc Lagoutte conceived the television station idea, noticing an absence in the market for audio-visual broadcasting. They subsequently formed a production company.
Their first programmes were broadcast on the Internet in 2012, before progressing from web TV to the small screen.
Their former studios in Hope Estate, Grand Case, were destroyed by Hurricane Irma and the recovery has taken a full year before they were able to move into the new location in October. The new studios are located on Rue St. James, more or less in the car park directly opposite the Carimo real estate office on Rue Général de Gaulle.
Gentil said the breakthrough came in 2015 when Conseil Supérieur de L’Audiovisuel (CSA) gave them authorisation to start a television station, which become the official TV station for St. Martin.
A bonus came in May 2106 when they won the “Remarkable Initiative” prize from Initiative St. Martin Active at the second annual innovation competition, for launching their IOTV public television channel, a first for St. Martin.
The two St. Martin-based entrepreneurs were among 100 winners of the Remarkable Initiative prize in France. The cash prize and interest-free loan from Initiatives St. Martin was a great help financially.
“Initiatives St. Martin has supported us tirelessly with our financial plan,” Gentil said. “And the French government, through European funds FEDER has also put their trust in us to make the necessary investments to create this station.
“Like everyone in St. Martin, Hurricane Irma impacted our lives and business and 2018 was the year of reconstruction. The loss of our structure in Hope Estate allowed us to find this new location conveniently located in the heart of Marigot.
“This is the proof that positive can come out of negative and it is in this state of mind that the IOTV adventure continues today. We thank everyone who helped us to recover in the aftermath of the hurricane.
“We also thank the managing director of Canal + Caraïbes, Adrien Bourreau, for the trust he has put in us by integrating IOTV with Canal + Caraïbes, on channel number 38. The local channel of St. Martin now airs in St. Martin, St. Barthélemy, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana.
“Finally, we thank the President of the Collectivité Daniel Gibbs for the commitment shown this year through the signing of a convention. The television studio and the IOTV channel are at the service of the population of St. Martin. News, talk shows, studio recorded show, interviews, and other programmes will soon be available to our viewers. To all those who helped us move forward and who believed in us, thank you.”
The pair have indicated they wish to develop the audio-visual sector in St. Martin and train local St. Martiners interested in this field. IOTV currently has a staff of five, including reporter, technician and sales agent.
Guests were invited to tour the studio after the speeches.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82424-st-martin-s-local-tv-station-iotv-launches-new-studio