Day in day out, we are presented with programmes that might just be more like an afterthought
pic by BLOOMBERG
THE good news is, we are now watching television in high definition (HD). For free. The bad news? There’s not many local programmes that seem to match the quality that screams HD.
Day in day out, we are presented with programmes that might just be more like an afterthought.
What we have now are hours and hours of non-stop nonsensical Malay dramas — more often than not shown at ungodly hours — and run-of-the- mill shows that do not really tickle the fancies of the more sophisticated viewers.
Think about it. In the 60s, 70s, Malaysians only have to deal with one television station, but the little that we had was maximised via a variety of programmes that were both entertaining and educational.
Even when TV2 was introduced to complement TV1 with more imported programmes that opened up Malaysians to a “bigger world”, everything seemed just nice for any of the average citizens.
Then TV3 joined the fray, and things got a bit more exciting. More imported programmes became the staples along several Malaysianmade shows that might have been conceptualised to attract a wide audience including talk shows, magazines, music charts and many more.
Yup, along the way, we got caught in that soap opera trap too. Initially, all these “drama swasta” seemed to be rather interesting and amusing.
Years later, all those dramas and series have somehow evolved into quite ugly monsters. Fine, the shows could be targeted at bored people who just want to escape their real world by ogling at unrealistically good looking people (some can really act) who are embroiled in a fantasy world.
Come on, how many rich spoiled girls who have been brought up shallow and materialistic that we know would fall for a, say, family driver?
Do we know any degree holder who decides to suck it up and work as a maid in an ultra rich household only to fall in love with the employer’s good looking and arrogant son?
News flash to all the producers: As much as you think the storyline is cool and would give you great ratings, the plot is getting tiresome and very, very boring and too predictable.
Slow motions and zooming in and out in between scenes also do not make any dramatic impact on the scenes too.
What about quiz and game shows, or home decor and cooking programmes? Maybe a groundbreaking documentary (like M for Malaysia) could also excite more viewers to watch.
As it is, many who could afford satellite television (TV) might not even be bothered as they could easily turn to CNN or Al Jazeera; AXN or any Fox channels; History, National Geographic or Discovery channels, as well as those cartoon or sports networks.
However, terrestrial TV stations should now figure out this bigger market of people who have to cancel their satellite TV accounts due to the current economic crunch.
Let’s see, the MyTv offerings include TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, 8TV, TV9, Al-Hijrah, Bernama TV, TV Okey, RTM HD Sports, RTM Bes and a couple of shopping channels.
On paper, it could really give the paid channels a run for their money, but at the rate things are going now, the programmes are just too passable to keep the audience interested.
The government has done its part to give the people better viewing experience. It’s now time for the stations to rethink their strategies to complete the look and feel of what people can enjoy in the comfort of their home — for free.
While the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia seems to be more focussed on liberalising the digital realm that might give Malaysians better choice in terms of telecommunications and Internet services, it should also consider an agency or a team that could come out with ideas that would keep people interested in the local TV offerings that are now in HD.
After all, what’s the point of investing in all the infrastructure and facilities for HD transmission if there is nothing much to watch?
Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor at The Malaysian Reserve.