Televisions in Palm Beach County’s hotel rooms could soon be used to market the area’s cultural centers and attractions to tourists looking for things to do during their visit here.
The county’s Film and Television Commission has reached a five-year deal with Olympusat, a West Palm Beach-based television and media company, to create a tourism TV channel that will be beamed into hotel rooms across the area.
The station, dubbed The Palm Beaches TV, is set to launch in October at four local hotels — Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island, the Brazilian Court in Palm Beach, PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens and The Best Western Palm Beach Lakes Inn in West Palm Beach Beach.
Eventually, tourism leaders plan to expand the channel to other local hotels through the partnership with Olympusat.
Initially, the channel will carry television shows and video content sponsored by film commission, including a PBS series called “On the Town in The Palm Beaches” and at least one episode of “ ScubaNation ,” a television show about recreational scuba diving that airs on Fox Sports Sun.
“It is a great opportunity for us,” said Glenn Jergensen, executive director of the county’s Tourists Development Council. “It is an experience world right now. Everybody who takes a trip wants to have a unique experience. How best to show that than in living color.”
Under its sponsorship agreement, the film commission will pay Olympusat $100,000 a year to create and operate the new channel, which will also available online, officials said.
Olympusat, which operates more than 100 television networks around the world, including the Spanish-language movie channel, Cine Mexicano, will bare much of the remaining cost of establishing the channel. Hotels will be asked to help pay for equipment that may be needed to add the channel to their television lineup, officials said.
“They take the burden of the investment in this whole process,” Jergensen said. “All of the investment and the background work is being done by Olympusat.”
Yeshuah Castillo, Olympusat’s Vice President of Original Productions, said the company also plans to bring the channel to Roku — a popular streaming player that allows views to watch television over the internet — where it can be accessed by people all over the world. He hopes the channel will also appeal to local residents looking for information on new attractions and hot spots.
“We do think that for the palm beach viewers that live here, they will get a benefit, Castillo said.
There won’t be any advertisements on the channel, but the programming will focus on specific attractions, cultural venues and events, Castillo said.
“If it looks like an infomercial at the end of the day, that wasn’t our goal,” Castillo said.
Palm Beach County tourism leaders have been looking for more creative ways to showcase the area as a vacation and meetings destination for travelers around the world.
Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s tourism marketing arm, has been increasingly turning to social media influencers, people with with large following on Twitter and Instagram, to help sell the area as a tropical getaway. The nonprofit agency targets influencers who specialize in a number of niche topics, including fashion and family travel, in hopes they will use their social media platforms to convince travelers to come here.
The TV channel is the most recent shift away from traditional forms of advertising. It is among a series of collaborations between the film commission and Olympusat.
Last year, Olympusat, whose office is located in CityPlace, worked with the commission to create a short film that was one of the key attractions at the 2016 South Florida Fair. Actor Ray Liotta lent his voice to the film, which featured a number of county hot spots including The Breakers, the Flagler Museum, Lion Country Safari and the International Polo Club, as well as beaches and other eco adventures.
The film is among a list of videos the commission hopes to air on the new tourism channel.