Massive disadvantage
OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - August 29, 2015 - 10:00am

Why do I feel disadvantaged in my cable television connection? Actually, I wanted to use the word "cheated" instead of "disadvantaged" because that is what I really feel. But, since I entered into my subscription agreement with my eyes wide open, and that was more than two decades ago, I cannot now, rather belatedly, allude cheating to my service provider.

Truly, the information that I get, fresh and updated, keeps me aware of what is going on around the world. Thanks to cable tv. When, on September 11, 2001, an airplane crashed into one side of the twin World Trade Center towers, then already starting to burn from a jetliner that earlier hit it, I was seated right in front of my television. It was an unbelievably horrifying sight. The very second Juan Manuel Marquez, reeling from the barrage of blows unleashed by Manny Pacquiao, and on the verge of a knockout, luckily landed a punch that took the daylights out of the Filipino icon, that, too, was brought to my sala in living color. 

So, why my feeling of being disadvantaged? There are few reasons that seem to convince me I am on the losing side of my connection.

First, when cable television came to us, its most exciting come-on was the absence of commercial advertisements. It was explained that while the programs of local and national television channels would be carried in full, including the irritating length of poorly-produced ads, transnational programs would be beamed without commercials. The flow of canned or live shows would be freed from advertisement interruptions.

The marketing strategy was simple as it was quite understandable. There was no need for communications companies to earn revenue from placements of advertisers because the millions of subscribers were the ones paying already. In fact, we were too glad to pay reasonable sums of money monthly if only to receive television shows and programs without commercial interruptions.

Unfortunately, such is not the present case. Every now and then, we are peeved by advertisements that find their way into programs we are watching and in the process, break our flow of thought. Frankly speaking though, I could somehow accept advertisement interruptions, because these gaps afford me the time to, among other things, stretch my limbs and mix coffee.

Second. I remember the premier marketing pitch made by the sales people of the cable television that talked to me. As if they suspected that I was a frequent moviegoer, they told me that I would be able to watch all kinds of movies twenty-four hours a day, whole year thru. In today's language, that would be 24/7. And because, true indeed, my youthful movie addiction was only interrupted by my professional engagements that conflicted with show time, I got excited by the possibility that deep into the night and without going out of home, I could watch movies of my choice.

This is where I lament most to the point that I feel cheated. The movie channels included in the plan that I have subscribed to, and these are HBO, Cinemax, and Star Movies, do not keep a fresh supply of new titles. They repeat airing films they have already shown. If I have observed correctly, Robert Ludlum's Bourne series, for example, have been shown many times just this year.

Contrary to the representations made by the salesmen of my cable television service provider, I do not have choices of movies anymore. It is not true that I can watch all kinds of my preferred movies every day all year thru. Their availability is no longer 24/7. The movie channels have, in fact, but limited films to show. I perceive that the ones I like to see have already been shown many times over.  In other words, I am paying for services that are not given by my provider. That is why I feel not just disadvantaged but cheated.

I hope government looks into this situation. If Senators Trillanes, Cayetano, and Pimentel imagine that the people of Makati City are "disadvantaged, if not cheated" by their local leaders, and in the alleged pursuit of legislative investigation in aid of re-election, sorry, make that "in aid of legislation", can devote more than a year in trying to demolish their pet-peeve, they can legislate on matters that prevent massive disadvantage or cheating of the whole nation.

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