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Sunday, October 5, 2008

State of TV Media in Bangladesh

These ad vessels have used their satellite network to promote their own networks as well as the minuscule accomplishments of the people involved in them (you know who you are). Where in the world does a "Farmer's News" section pop up in the middle of evening prime-time news? Readers, Farmer's News is not for us. But considering how farmers make up a staggering large demographic of election voters, unconventional TV programming is being used to reach out for votes (wait, what did I just say?!?!).

====FARMER NEWS BREAK by Ahmed Ali====
Ahmed Ali decided to visit farmers in some remote village (he can't recall the name, his staff set it up). During the visit he went with a camera crew of 30 people to document his every single step as if it was a miracle in the making. Ahmed Ali decided to spook farmers who in Bangladesh have always craved camera attention rather than any sort of financial assistance. Ahmed Ali reassured everyone that profits from the 45 minute ad segment accompanying this 5 minute news WILL NOT be used for farmer benefit. Instead Ahmed Ali will continue to accost the farmers how they feel about WiMax licenses issued and call "CUT" when the farmers ask him to spare Tk 500. This is Ahmed Ali reporting and be sure to remember ho to spell my name. You might need to tick it on an upcoming form.

(btw, its not me in that picture. It is an actual screenshot of the TV channel)

Secondly these Bangladeshi TV channels are more perverted than American ones. Fox, an American TV channel took out a (sadly) popular reality hit show called American Idol. Soon as TV channels and mobile phone companies realized the SMS voting revenues from this show, it had the most variants possible amongst Bangladeshi TV channels.

Let me start out by saying why American Idol shows are not right for Bangladesh. First because it is not Bangladeshi Idol. The Bangladeshi Idol is someone who has to be economically successful to cover their livelihood. This idol would also have to do something that is socially beneficial. Examples suggested, but not limited to, would be creating a miracle cure for a pandemic in an impoverished country, employing millions in an impoverished country, donating millions in an impoverished country ... but NOT singing like a rickshaw-walla in a shower.

In America, a singing oaf can be an "American" idol, because some noted individuals have done more than the suggested examples. This leaves the rest (a small and ditsy demographic) to wonder what will be the purpose of their lives. Also the American Idol came into existence earlier this decade when the music industry was more than booming. The Internet happened since then and most of the money disappeared from the music industry. Now the American Idols would be extremely grateful for a follow-up second album (yet none of them ever did see that light). To some degree mass and shameless popularization of music has led some fans to reject this event and to explore the Independent Label (indie) music scene. This was ironically facilitated by the Internet and have seen more from this sector than all the American Idols combined with the likes of Killers, Leslie Feist and Keane.

Given this scenario, what do we expect from Bangladeshi musicians? Or what does the aspiring musicians aspire to be from a Bangladeshi Idol. If there is very little business in the music industry in North America, the margins must be even tighter in Bangladesh. Are they fooling themselves of the 'idol' status despite the poverty and despair right outside the stage? Then again, they will always be written of as another act similar to how American Idol winners are pushed aside as they are the result of SMS voting and not the same musical talent of Keane or Feist.

But unlike Fox, the Bangladeshi TV channels always know how to take it further. The perversion is that they made a children's version of this show. This is where children sing their heart out in front of B List Bangladeshi musicians. The musicians themselves should be ashamed as they are judging kids in a music competition in front of national TV. This is the sad state of TV media. It is bad enough when children's academic performance is judged so early on, but now even their hobbies are judged. All for shameless promotion in a sector which is predetermined to have dead ends.

So when are we actually going to cultivate Bangladeshi Idols?


Iqbal Ahmed said...

hmmm..some food for thought...but I media in almost every country not politicized and partial? I mean if people have hidden agenda, then media is the greatest means to establish and achieve such what can we as viewers do about it?

And the issue of song competitions with SMS voting, well I guess they are doing it just because the Indian channels do the same and there is a huge revenue associated with it.

Bangladeshi idol? Who is it actually? Prof. Yunus? Taslima Nasreen? who does the whole world know? I wonder....and keep on wondering.

Ahmed Ali said...

yes I understand, but even Fox doesn't have Joe Sixpack/Hockey Mom news in the middle of their prime time news.

In the US, advertisers actually pull their ads from certain programming they don't like. The responsibility should begin with the advertisers who continuously dominate the airtime.

Fsz said...

Its absolutely annoying to see all these channels on air are trying to outdo each other on reality shows such as these ...from beauty contest to singing competitions .
Every time I switch on these channles - they dissapoint me as a viewer . After all who wants to see all these all the time ! Can't writers and producers come up with briliant ideas that ultimately serves a greater purpose ? We don't see inter school competitions ,we don't see great of educational programs , we don't even see good drama scripts !
I wonder how these channles insted of addressing the real issue of poverty ,starvation , development ....neglects these as if its not at our own backyard