Echelon Entertainment is the second-largest entertainment corporation in the Caldari State behind the Nugoeihuvi Corporation. A subsidiary of Kaalakiota, Echelon has become increasingly popular since its founding in YC89 primarily due to its focus on cultivating an outward Caldari cultural identity and preserving heritage via visual and musical productions; today its programs are regularly broadcasted on Caldari channels. The Caldari-focused content means it has a very small foreign market. Kaalakiota has shown little to no interest in actively expanding Echelon beyond State borders.
In the years running up to the capsuleer era, Sukuuvestaa and the rest of the Practical bloc dominated the Caldari State’s politics and economy. Kaalakiota and the other Patriot megacorporations felt the ancient Caldari culture was being undermined by what they saw as unrestricted and unabashed corporatism on the part of the Practicals. KK felt these corporations showed no respect for traditional practices, instead focusing on pure profiteering.
In addition, those who had lived through the Gallente-Caldari War were beginning to die out, leaving a generation free from war, who Kaalakiota felt were apathetic to the sacrifices that came before. Changing the enculturation process of children was not enough, as many adults were considered by KK as unappreciative of history. Kaalakiota thus took it upon themselves to adapt to the changing social and political environment, in order to preserve the ancient culture.
Initial attempts and failures
In YC89, Kaalakiota formed Raata Productions. Its first programs were ancient Raata stage plays updated for a modern audience. However, as the commercial arts are typically looked down upon by the Caldari populace (due to the perceived habits of such practices defying the social order), Raata Productions did not have access to high-level experienced actors or actresses, selecting low- to mid-level ones almost at random. At first, the majority of the audiences did not particularly seem to notice the quality of acting, used to watching combat tournaments instead.
After the initial novelty period, KK found that viewers were primarily composed of either the Caldari arts niche (an extremely negligible segment of the State population) or the executive class. The viewership of these demographics was dwindling by the week, as both groups were educated enough to identify the poor quality of the productions. This was on top of the general Caldari populace moving back to the more typical preferences of engaging with gambling and combat sports. What only provoked a response from KK was after they caught wind of prolific Gallente and Amarr critics writing up extremely poor reviews of the productions, the corporation seeing it as a point of national pride that Caldari culture should not be insulted by foreigners.
Rebranding and success
Instead, Kaalakiota decided to capitalize on primarily having an audience amongst the well-off executives, believing that a sense of cultural pride would 'trickle down' to the lower classes. They rebranded Raata Productions as Echelon Entertainment, named after the fact they were aiming at a particular echelon of Caldari society. KK opened up so-called Echelon Academies, screening children from a young age to be trained and educated as entertainers loyal to the corporation's goal in this area. However, the academies required adults for the short-term. Kaalakiota were extremely selective in who they brought onboard, as they perceived Caldari who simply desired a platform for self-expression as dangerous to the established order.
The new Echelon Entertainment was a massive success amongst the executive class, and soon the entertainment company was able to branch out to other genres, such as dramatized poetry recitals based on the Caldari Breakout, and realistic recreations of the Gallente-Caldari War and ancient Cathura Rebellion. The Echelon Academies began teaching classical Raata music and unique compositions based off of the orchestral styles inherited from the Gallente. Holovision and television dramas based off of proverbs and unique cultural struggles followed, though these serials evolved to act as a commentary for everyday problems experienced by the individual Caldari citizen (though never the State itself).
Although Echelon Entertainment's goal of cultivating the ancient Caldari culture amongst the general populace via a 'trickle down' theory was not a success, the vast revenue brought in by the productions kept the subsidiary as a successful long-term investment. Echelon was pushed to the interstellar fore after Kaalakiota negotiated broadcast rights within the territories of other State megacorporations. Despite this, the majority of Caldari would continue to engage in the popular pastime of gambling, something provided for by NOH, while the massive Gallente entertainment and media industry would fill in all other niches.
Seeking to cater to areas in the Federation with a significant Caldari population, Gallente broadcasters negotiated for the syndication of Echelon productions in their own territories, but were refused wholesale by Kaalakiota. The megacorporation felt that State citizens who choose to migrate elsewhere are no longer worth of being called Caldari, and KK still saw a threat to their culture and heritage (as well as their security) by broadcasting to a foreign audience. The only exception came with exporting significantly dated productions, as well as Echelon News. Freedom of the media in the Federation meant that KK had significant license to broadcast whatever they desired through Echelon News (within reason).
After Tibus Heth's successful reclamation of Caldari Prime, members of the worker class began to take an interest in Echelon Entertainment, though it has since standardized back to historical metrics.
Products and Activities
Although modern Caldari entertainment is defined by gambling on gladiatorial sports and other such competitions, Echelon Entertainment has decided to focus primarily on ‘culturally Caldari’ visual and musical productions, from ancient Raata stage plays to drama serials focusing on stories relevant to State citizens. Echelon still runs some casinos and sports tournaments for the general market, but the vast majority of their content is consumed by the Patriot executive class. Echelon News is the media service for the Kaalakiota corporation, with talk show This Is The State being a somewhat notable production from the channel.
Gambling and Sports
Echelon casinos can be found in Kaalakiota, Lai Dai and Wiyrkomi holdings, offering some competition to rival NOH establishments. The design of these casinos harken back to similar establishments before and during the industrial era on Caldari Prime. Gambling takes place over updated Raata games and sports, rather than MindClash or Splinterz, due to NOH market dominance in this sector.
Pleasure Resorts and Other Establishments
Echelon Entertainment is noteworthy for operating traditional Caldari teahouses across the State, and not just in Kaalakiota holdings. These are perfect replicas of the same establishments that existed during the Raata Empire in the cities of Tovil and Arcurio, offering tea made from the leaves of kresh trees on New Caldari Prime or from astro-farms. Echelon has also purchased ownership of Caldari teahouses in the Federation to ensure these establishments are true to Caldari standards. State teahouses are commonly visited by mid- and top-level employees, and the establishments became very popular after being introduced during Echelon’s rise.
Echelon also operates many vacation resorts that seek to cultivate the Caldari heritage. Typical Caldari sand gardens are common, places of tranquility aimed at executives higher up in the corporate ladder. Tourists from other empires have a particular interest in these venues, but as Kaalakiota is highly protective of their resorts, they often double or treble prices for all foreigners who wish to visit an Echelon vacation site.
News and information networks
''Echelon News'' was founded a few years after the rebranding of Raata Productions. As NOH's ''Caldari Today'' was too well-entrenched in the State media network, ''Echelon News'' instead focused on simply informing Kaalakiota, Lai Dai, and Wiyrkomi citizens of what they needed to know (and what they didn't), ignoring foreign stories completely. The news service became popular in the Federation, as it was considered by Gallente viewers as a fascinating insight into how a State citizen is informed of events. When Kaalakiota began catering ''Echelon News'' specifically to a Gallente audience in the Federation, it became as equally popular as ''Caldari Today'' for its anti-establishment nature.
To rival the NOH production Games of State, Echelon Entertainment created ''This is the State''. The show is currently hosted by Iesa Murikomo, a former Echelon News anchor, and follows a format of in-depth interviews with political leaders, panel discussions, and political reporting from around the cluster courtesy of Echelon's news bureaus. While not quite as highly regarded among the political and intellectual elite as Games of State, ''This is the State'' has comparable market share. It is generally considered to be more representative of the Caldari political mainstream since Executor Tibus Heth’s rise to power in YC110 and the resultant resurgence of Kaalakiota and her Patriot allies.
Since the Provist rise to power, Echelon News and ''This is the State'' have seen noticeable change. Both are now indistinguishable from ''Caldari Today'' in being considered little more than pro-State propaganda, although Echelon News does not report on foreign events unlike its NOH counterpart. The same now occurs with talk show ''This is the State''. ''Games of State'' has become the only major program which goes against the established line in Caldari space.
Echelon Entertainment is a notable producer of holoreels for broadcast and consumption primarily in the State, though it is possible to purchase Echelon reels from Kaalakiota retailers in other empires, or even from FedMart. These holoreels are mostly drama serials or feature films that are orientated towards a State audience, and are regarded as high quality despite the general Caldari disinclination towards such forms of entertainment. They appeal strongly to Gallente viewers appreciative of the Caldari-oriented content and the opportunity to further develop their interpretation of Echelon's productions.
Echelon also produces holoreels that are live recordings of its various Raata-era stage plays. These are typically consumed by the executive class, as the bulk of the Caldari prefer the enhanced realities of gambling and sports over the alternate ones presented in visual media. The theater productions are recreated by both Caldari and non-Caldari living in the Federation, and are popular amongst high art circles.
Echelon Entertainment ignores producing popular music altogether, seeing the industry as too Gallente-oriented. Instead, they focus on classical and traditional Caldari music, either using orchestras in the styles inherited from the Gallente or much smaller folk assemblies of the Raata style. Employing corporate artists trained through Echelon Academies, orchestral performances are conducted before a live audience (typically wealthy executives), or via broadcast for other viewers. Echelon has a near-monopoly on all classical productions in the State.