When just one company controls a particular market segment, it’s called a Monopoly. And nothing says monopoly better in Malaysia than cable TV operators Astro.
As a consumer and an ad-man, I like competition.
When companies compete, consumers win. Usually with cheaper prices and better value; think about the hypermarkets and how they slash prices like crazy to pull-in customers.
And we freelance copywriters, art directors and designers get more work to do when companies compete; because they then have to run aggressive promotional activities that require our services.
Of course with Astro, there’s no such thing. Their only competition is free-to-air TV, which might as well not exist.
I’ve been a bill-paying customer of Astro for close to 10 years, so I think I have earned the right to speak my mind. Hence the reasons why I hate Astro:
- I now pay double in fees for the same package I have subscribed since day one. Remember, more channels does not mean more value; I can only watch one channel at a time.
- Astro always cite the rising costs of programming globally when increasing their prices. Why not pass on these costs to advertisers rather than us consumers?
- Sometimes it feels like I am paying to watch ads. There are way too many ads for a subscription-based service.
- The programming is much left to be desired. Repeats after repeats of old programmes. If you’re a fan of Jamie Oliver, you know what I’m talking about.
- Absurd packaging of channels. Only one or two decent channels in a package. The rest is garbage. Why not let us choose the channels we want, individually?
- Rain, solar interruption and sometimes even when it’s just very cloudy; you get the very familiar “services currently not available” message.
- Even the 45-mins of watching a live football match is littered with on-screen running tickers, cross-promos and ads. My 32-inch TV is often reduced to a 21-inch!
- The Box Office packages are a rip-off. They often show old, B-grade movies on regular movie channels and charge a premium for decent movies.
- I’d probably have more luck getting an appointment with the prime minister than getting hold of someone on the other end of their customer service hotline.
- They say Tutor TV helps school children learn better; but in actual fact they are just turning kids into TV addicts.
Ahhhhh… it’s nice to get stuff off your chest. Now where’s the damn remote!