Friday, April 6, 2012

Television Around the World

This post serves a dual-purpose.

First-I have been grounded for the last month while in between installments and I miss the components that come with travel. IE: posting here about discoveries, taking pictures to share with the world, and even airplane food a little bit.
I miss living off an itinerary so much that in the small amount of downtime that I have, I reflect on quieter memorable moments that served as pegs in the global experience. Those that were not mind blowing, but none-the-less  very important stitches in the fabric of my global tapestry. Things like TV in foreign countries.

Second-I am in the middle of a marketing project that involves dusting off my creative lump located 3 feet above my ass, and I am quickly reminded that I do my best writing in the morning. This post is an exercise in house cleaning as I prime my engine for tear down the track.

While unwinding and watching television the other night I began to get re-wound up thinking about television in Africa. Not quite the "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" that perhaps Winston Churchill brought light to, but never the less as poignant as the Simpson's and Family Guy can get.

Africa's Television Network is called ZUKU. They provide all services cable and have similar practices to home like bundle packages that include Internet, phone and cable television. They even have familiar programming to the rest of humanity that may be visiting the ivory country. FLN (Fine Living Network) which is fed out of Canada for those comforting episodes of House Hunters and Rachel Ray, ESPN which concentrates on rugby and football (soccer) with a smattering of cricket, MTV which once in a while plays a songs I recognize from some other time, and even FOX.

Here's where the differences lie.

While trying to figure out how we were going to maximize our electronic aides, Kristen and I had an impossible time getting game 7 of last years world series from America to us. Sufficed for the details we ended up skype calling my sister and having her turn her laptop towards their TV.

Point is, International rights prohibit any outside television source from being broadcast on local soil. No Internet, no TV, no sports bar. And they locate you through whatever device your using. A message will pop up saying "we see your in Africa. Sorry, you don't have the right to watch this show".

No sooner had a read that message than over my left shoulder I hear the TV announce, "Stay tuned for an all new Ally McBeal", then later, "Starting Tomorrow, Season 3 of Family Guy. Only on Fox Africa"....Yeah only here because we watched it already 6 years ago.

Then it dawned on me. To the locals, this is "new" programming. Hence the restrictions on any other television feeds making their way in.

FOX U.S. sells Africa all their old and used programming at a discount and Africa shows it as new. Brilliant! and Frustrating.

While listening to Joe Buck call the 3rd inning at 4am East Africa Time and barely being able to make out his face on skype, I was forced to get excited about the Tracy Ullman Simpson's coming on later that night...At least I would be able to see them, even if it was their baby pictures and they are currently grown adults.