What are we paying to see at the moment? Hardly anything. This situation has been brewing in the open since local television decided to buy the rights for The Voice to see our local artist, Tessanne Chin’s season. Coverage was choppy and delayed. Then went the USA series, Suits followed by Empire. What was alarming was that in the case of the new hot series, Empire, they expected viewers to wait an entire WEEK to see the 2-hour season 1 finale. Unacceptable. The only reason they did not try the same thing with Scandal, is because they are so far behind in the season they are currently showing. The same thing has also been happening with football fans for years, not being able to see some games live or getting crappy commentary. This pushes persons to watch shows or sports online and defeats the whole purpose of local television showing desired content and thus boosting its viewership. Also remember that the west channels such as ABC west etc. with a later feed (3 hours after) are no longer available from FLOW. So if we do not make it home in time, we cannot watch the show later in the night.
Now here comes Digicel Sportsmax acquiring the rights to show the NBA. Which group of so called ‘Sports fans’ sat around a table and made the decision to show SOME of the NBA playoffs this year? Who gave them the right to choose what games we can see, or how do they choose what games should be shown?! How can that be logical in any way, shape or form? If they could not afford to show ALL of the games, then they should not show any at all. Simple! And how could the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica approve this madness? Where is the balance of interest for us, the consumers? How could a contract be signed for only Digicel Sportsmax to show the NBA 2015 Playoffs even though they stated they are only showing 18 NBA Playoff games, the Conference finals and the Finals? 18 games are not even 5% of the games before the Conference finals, not even knowing which series will go to a Game 7. So any other channel that we are currently paying for, and that is showing the game is blocked?
Now it seems Digicel Sportsmax opened a can of worms because they have stated on Facebook that, ‘the blocking of channels showing the NBA has been done because the cable operator does not have the rights to that channel for broadcast in the Caribbean.’ Also that, ‘it has nothing to do with Sportsmax.’ Of course it does, because if it was not for Sportsmax putting this contract forward to the NBA and drawing attention to us, (although we should run things legally but who cares) the NBA would not have looked into our cable providers, i.e. FLOW and realise they have not been showing NBA on channels like NBA TV and ABC legally in the first place; hence blocking them now. Then FLOW has its customer service agents lying to the public saying that channels such as TNT US are blocked because only Digicel Sportsmax has the legal right to show the NBA games. Fortunately for us, the NBA authorized that ESPN and SPACE (Who knows what or where is SPACE) cannot be blocked in this region. However, unfortunately for us, not all NBA Playoff games will be shown on ESPN but on many other channels that are blocked such as TNT US, NBA TV etc.
Also, how many years is this stupid contract for? We have gone from All Access to almost zero access. Where are the answers? Where is the communication from FLOW and how are they going to fix this moving forward? Will they only make an effort if they see a dip in subscribers or are we to accept that they are not going to fix this, purchase NBA League Pass and stream to our big screens or set up an American cable system such as DSS? All this contraption, instead of simply turning on the television?! There goes supporting Brand Jamaica because I know for sure many persons will not be supporting this inconsiderate act.
By the way, not showing the games was just scratching the surface. I will not even begin to go into the quality of feed and commentary. Isn’t this counter intuitive to growing the sport as well?!
So where do we go from here? How many more shows and programmes will be taken? And WHEN will our bills or charges be reduced by FLOW? Robbery. That is what this is. Robbery of our money, joy, bar time and sanity in our living rooms.