We received additional à la carte rates for specific TV channels from our cable operator.
While this is quite common for people with DTH services, it is being rolled out to households with cable connections in the last year or so. You could not miss the advisories on hindi language networks from the people you trust – people who acted in numerous “TV serials” (series) just to confuse you (was Aditi in Serial A, or B? Is she the mother or sister of the good guy in so & so series?).
When all this hoopla was going on,we did what thousands of others around us did. We left it to the best judgement of our cable operator to decide what is good for us. As expected, all that accumulated karma got back to us today.
Our trusted cable operator started demanding money at à la carte prices, when he perfectly knew that families like ours select the “all you can eat”, or the buffet option – families that avoid à la carte like the plague.
“There is no reason for us to select à la carte when you can get everything for reduced prices” – thus goes the reasoning.
We discussed and decided they went a bit too far with the cable prices this time. While we pay Rs. 200, which is cheaper compared to other parts of Bengaluru, we believe that it is because people in those parts do not know the “real” rates. Demanding additional money for specific channels from smart middle-class people did indeed flabbergast us. What’s more – additional money was being asked for the channels that we know only when we using remote like a machine gun – flipping channels like our life depended on it.
Dissection of channels that cost extra
Udaya TV group of channels is quite well-known, but seldom seen at home. At Rs.87 per month, we can as well settle down to DD. But I quite do not know whether our beloved DD still exists, my search is on.
More over, the entire Sun group of channels has declared war on cable operators (or vice versa) for some strange reason. The combination of Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam channels cost a whooping to Rs. 260. My nephew helpfully suggested that it was the same cost for 26 CDs of movies that you *like*. I shut him up for the fear of my neighbours overhearing about that illegal activity of pirated CDs – they may raid all the neighbouring CD shops to dust with their Rs.260’s.
I was the only one who saw Star Movies, Star World, & NGC. My daughters do not count since they watch any channel that is on. For the life of me, I could not remember when I switched to those specific channels to watch specific shows (except for The Simpsons on Star World). That was indeed horrifying because those are symptoms of a TV zombie. I immediately made note to remember the channels and shows that I watch. I also mentally reassured myself that the additional channels do not add an ounce of entertainment that I cannot get elsewhere.
The best part however was this – I had not even heard about some of channels that are about to have their prices bumped up. Whoever heard of Baby TV, Jalsa Movies, & Nat Geo People?
As for the rest – it did not evoke any kind of reaction. I knew of their existence because they came in between when I wanted to flip to “the usual channel” (keying in numbers is stressful, and the back/forward buttons have this habit of taking you to a dream world).
The war cry
I rallied my entire family to my viewpoint, and we decided enough was enough.
“No more Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, or Bengali channels for you” – we told our 4 year old daughters. We quite cannot gauge their reaction sometimes, but I do think they completely agree. So, a decision was made rather quickly.
We’re not going to spend Rs. 600 plus on ridiculous channels. We’re not going to feed into the corporate ego and we will not allow these entities to demand additional money for questionable entertainment. A few of these channels are entertaining only because of the ads – we can get that for free from other channels. Why, we did not even notice that they were off air since for months already.
I was quite pleased with myself to have driven an unanimous decision, which is seldom the case in a family of six.
Once all this was done, I was again thankful to my cable operator. He helped fast forward the process of bringing some evil corporates to their knees – at least until they decide to revert back to prices and become good corporates .