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What’s there to watch?

  • Published at 12:00 am December 19th, 2016
  • Last updated at 10:47 am December 19th, 2016

The demands by Media Unity and Federation of Television Professionals Organisation to ban the airing of foreign content on local channels is quite unreasonable.

Bangladesh has a rich tradition of foreign shows, whether dubbed or not, being made accessible to a Bangladeshi audience through local channels.

Even BTV has, throughout the years, drawn audiences with foreign shows.

The need for foreign-made entertainment does not come out of a vacuum.

During primetime, about 70% of the Bangladeshi audience chooses Indian drama serials as their entertainment.

The airwaves are saturated with Bangladeshi channels, which boast the resources and talent required to air good, well-produced TV.

If they wish to compete, Bangladeshi channels need to up their game. Local channels too often suffer from too many advertisements and poorly conceived TV shows and movies, which often do not live up to the standards of the current Bangladeshi audience of today.

These audiences already have access to foreign TV channels, whether from India or other countries. Regardless of what is shown on our channels, our local channels are competing with those sources of entertainment.

Additionally, the government must recognise that TV channels are a business and their primary source of revenue is through advertisements. If the surest way to get audiences to watch and, thereby, get more ads, is to air more dubbed channels, the government shouldn’t interfere.

If Bangladesh-based TV channels can consistently deliver on the promise of high quality content, then viewers and advertisers will come around on their own.

If we fail to do that, people will simply switch to a different channel to watch a foreign show.

Placing an arbitrary ban will spur no improvements in the quality of our content. People demand engaging, stimulating content, whether in their news programs, drama serials, or talk shows.

If they are turning to foreign TV, it is because of the quality of the product.

The producers and actors who are protesting the broadcasting of dubbed foreign serials would be well advised to try to produce better entertainment which can compete with the Indian drama serials which the audience is actually watching.

The only solution is to strive to produce high quality programming, not imposing restrictions that stifle creativity.

There is enough talent in the country to achieve this.