Saturday, July 18, 2009

MDA encourages Starhub to screw preschoolers

Many years ago, I used to be a happy cable TV subscriber with Starhub. I loved the soccer coverage. Then the soccer subscription charges became ridiculous, so I thought, I opt out. But I still subscribe to cable TV because my son loved Disney Playhouse. Then one fine day, scrolling words on the TV told me that I will no longer get Disney Playhouse on my analogue set top box, and I must pay two bucks RANSOM a month just to watch that same channel. It was right at this time Singtel mioTV jumped into my lap, and although it took some getting used to I think CBeebies is better than Disney Playhouse.

With nothing left to interest me on Starhub, I returned the set top box and bid them saynonara. 18 months into mioTV, I thought, everything's working out fine. It's time for some commitment to take advantage of the discounts, so here I signed up a two year contract with Singtel for mioTV.

Three months into the contract, another set of scrolling words says CBeebies will no longer be offered on mioTV. I subscribe to mioTV for CBeebies and CBeebies alone. What I am going to do with the remaining 21 months of contract? If I want to pay up the RANSOM, it is going to cost me at least 25 bucks a month MORE to get that ONE CHANNEL on Starhub.
EDIT: I'm so behind times. Minimum ransom to get CBeebies on StarHub is THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS. I'm sure some of it will go into MDA CEO's bonus.

Yes, this is clearly an abuse of monopolistic power by Starhub. I'm pissed with Singtel for letting this happen. Whatever happened to the clout of this powerful regional company? If it was BBC that screwed them, why dont they show some fangs? Singtel built the reputation of CBeebies from zero to a reasonable popularity. In fact, one could even say it was subzero, since the only programme I have heard of prior to signing up was Teletubbies, and that alone nearly convinced me not to touch CBeebies with a hundred foot long pole. But feeling blackmailed by Starhub prodded me forward.

Oh, I see how they are going to screw BBC, by offering TWO NEW BBC Channels that Starhub is not interested to carry. That will teach BBC a lesson. I'm sure there is no possibility that a few months into these new channels, they too will get popular and move to Starhub and leave mioTV subscribers high and dry.

But the people I am most bloody pissed with are the idiots from the Media Destruction Authority. You guys are supposed to set the rules of the game. The players are having drunken orgies on the pitch. What do you do? Hire external consultants to make decisions so no blame can be directed at you?

It's one thing to blackmail football fans. It's quite another to screw preschoolers, and their parents. MDA is so profoundly stupid and incompetent, it is no wonder they produced crap like this:

I dont know what is MDA's KPI, but it seems to have nothing to do with the needs of Singaporean pay TV subscribers.

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