Omega and Odyssey Compete for ‘Weekly Packet’ Audience / 14ymedio, Luz
14ymedio, Luz Escobar, 29 September 2016 – Two young men wait on the
centrally located corner of San Lazaro and San Francisco in Havana,
at the door of the private business Copypack. They have in hand a hard
disk to get the ‘Weekly Packet’ without knowing that through this
compendium of audiovisuals a discrete battle is being fought to
monopolize the public’s preferences. Who chooses the compilation called
Omega and who chooses Odyssey? That is the question.
With names from the epics, which seem straight out of video games and
science fiction movies, the two great parent companies of this singular
television alternative are trying to capture audience. They are the germ
of the channels that the island’s TV viewers will enjoy in the future,
without sneaking around or standing in line to make copies to take home.
“I realized that my ‘packet’ was Odyssey because I asked for some copies
of Q’Manía TV and they told me that that material only came out on
Omega,” said one of the customers waiting on the sidewalk. “I was
surprised, because I had no idea of those details,” he said.
The two productions houses that copy, organize and distribute around one
terabyte of material every week started offering movies, series, and
foreign magazines, but they have been expanding and shaping their own
content. While Omega is betting more on series delivered episode by
episode, Odyssey is “best for finding music and videoclips,” say their
Full Copy is a business with two locations in Havana, one in Vedado and
another in Lawton, that offers the Omega packet every day from 7 in the
morning, or a courier will bring it to your house for 1 Cuban
Convertible peso. “Every week we sell more than a thousand copies,” says
Javier, an employee.
The director and producer Rolando Lorenzo, who heads one of the leading
programs in the Weekly Packet, explains that when he got the first
deliveries of his production ready, dedicated to promoting the history
of show business and advertising private businesses, the Omega managers
gave him an “exclusive” space without paying “a single centavo.”
Entrepreneurial by nature, Lorenzo appreciated the gesture that helped
him when his project was just starting out. The producer believes that
“quality leads to power” and his program will help Omega develop even
more and of course he pushes for Q Manía TV to grow its audience.
The director says that Omega “has its privileges” and proudly says that
his program is available “in many places in the packet because it is in
several folders,” especially in the first one, organized alphabetically,
something that he calls “a luxury” and he pushes to keep his commitment
On 26th Street, in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution municipality, is one
of the most important places in the capital for the distribution of the
Weekly Packet from Odyssey. Its employees explain to 14ymedio the “daily
update,” unlike Omega, along with the variety of music and TV series.
“The real difference is in Odyssey’s musical selection,” says a young
messenger who is responsible for distributing both packets on his
bicycle and he says that “both have daily updates.” Laughing, he says
that both firms behave like “Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, which are more
similar than they want to acknowledge in public.”
Odyssey is managed by Abdel, “The Essence,” a very well-known music
producer on the island. Thanks to its wide selection, many of the
artists that can’t show their videoclips on the popular TV show Lucas,
thanks to censorship, find a space on this audiovisual compendium. The
young man doesn’t hesitate to assert that in his hands is “the best
Packet of the week.”
However, Omega is no slouch and recently has created alliances with
musical promoters like Eje Record or Crazy Boys to expand its variety of
songs, soundtracks and videos with national singers.
Both parent companies have evolved in content distribution toward the
advertising business. From the work of an artist who is just starting
out, to reports focused on private businesses, the private sector
determines more and more the content of the Weekly Packet.
In a country where only ideological propaganda is permitted, promoted
and disseminated by the government on national television, alternative
networks of distribution have filled the commercial spaces that are
missing on the small screen.
Elio Hector Lopez, “The Transporter,” known for being one of the
managers of the Weekly Packet, announced some months ago his intentions
to mutate his company toward advertising, and recognizes the need to
evolve in this sense of be able to survive in the future.
The producers who manage the Weekly Packet have a view of the future and
dream that their compilation of audiovisuals will shape morning television.
Source: Omega and Odyssey Compete for ‘Weekly Packet’ Audience /
14ymedio, Luz Escobar – Translating Cuba –