TVJ Takes Jamaica’s “Voice” and Choice Away
News broke late last evening that “Jamaica’s number one choice”, TVJ, had partnered with telecoms giant Digicel to acquire the broadcasting rights to the popular NBC talent reality show, “The Voice”. This move no doubt motivated by the debut of the popular Jamaican songstress Tessanne Chin on the show. That is all well and good, except when one considers the fact that the show would be delayed by a whole two hours. Predictably, Jamaicans reacted with intense anger, taking to social media to blast both companies. In a desperate attempt to fix their blunder, TVJ has decided to air the show live on an obscure channel, known as RETV, obviously this is less than satisfactory. I have to lend my voice to this issue, albeit not a singing voice.
The reason I originally saw proffered for the ill-advised decision expressed concern for Jamaicans without cable television. Digicel and TVJ proposed to be acting in the greater good of ensuring that these Jamaicans, who probably wouldn’t have heard of the “The Voice” to begin with, are not left out of all the excitement surrounding Tessanne’s debut. There are obviously two things wrong with that “humanitarian” reason. First of all, there are people who have been watching the reality show before Tessanne’s audition, why should they be held hostage to the misplaced attempt to “bring” the show to the masses? This reality is even more painful when one considers the fact that some of these people are “bandwagonists”, watching the show ONLY because a Jamaican is now on it. It is not fair to the show’s loyal fans. Their interests should not be trampled upon in a failed attempt to satisfy the Jamaican mentality of supporting our own only when they shine.
Now, I’m all for everyone getting access to information and cable TV, believe I am. I know the struggles of the black and white set, and the channels that show one body part at a time, but I also know the struggle of paying the cable bill. This brings me to the second flaw with Digicel’/TVJ’s reasoning – I pay a cable bill to acquire premium channels, for my comfort, at whatever time I want. It is unconscionable to compel me to watch your station, at a time stipulated by you, in the low level quality provided by you – that is just absurd. Where is the consumer choice in this? So you decided to buy the rights to broadcast it to persons who have no cable, why should persons with a cable service be affected too? Why should we be forced to watch it on your terms? Why is such a thing even legal? What is this? North Korea? The real reason for acquiring these rights is selfish, and TVJ ought not to insult our intelligence by suggesting that it is for any greater good. TVJ is trying to gain “late” night viewers in an underhanded way, holding us hostage, and using poor Tessanne as ransom.
I consider myself a reasonable person, I could look pass all this if the announced solution was any better, in many respects it is worst. RETV is an obscure entertainment channel, which very few people can find with ease. In fact, most people perhaps don’t even have it to begin with, considering their cable packages and the balancing act some cable companies force you to flow with, assuming you cannot afford the entire package. Let me tell you straight up, I cannot. This is why I made sure to include NBC in my balancing act. The reality is RETV is no stroll through the park; it is plagued by broadcasting issues. The volume is frequently too low, the channel goes absent for days at a time, or there is blaring sound and no visual. Does TVJ intend to fix these issues? Or are they simply giving us a 6 for a 9? I certainly hope RETV is ready to take on the burden TVJ has unceremoniously foisted upon them. Otherwise, TVJ had better get ready to relinquish their rights to the show. This arrangement simply won’t do.
Finally, could this new arrangement affect Tessanne’s votes? I understand Jamaicans can vote online. How will TVJ’s selfishness affect the voting? Considering Tessanne’s fans would be a whole two hours behind the time the vote lines would have opened, this is of course assuming RETV will fail, which I strongly expect. TVJ should have taken a leaf from CVM’s book, don’t take on things you cannot execute well, especially things that will command large audiences. This was clearly poorly thought out and might ruin the experience for everybody, those with or without cable. Tell Digicel and Jamaica we want back our voice, and the accompanying choice.