Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Lessons In Globalisation - Astro On-Demand
I think TVB serials got distributed back in the early 70s and I still remembered being glued to The Bund which starred Chow Yuen Fatt. Free TV and paid TV battled the airwaves. At the end of the day, its the software which counts. Ananda Krishnan was smart enough to snap up some 20% of TVB a few years back. You have the delivery methodology, you don't want to be held ransom by the software side.
Now picture this, you have slogged hard to be the main distributor for TVB serials and programs in Malaysia, or pick any country for that matter. (Through the years, there have been many change of hands in the role as main distributor as the business is actually not that lucrative.) When Astro was launched, you have "old TVB series" acting as the main attraction to lure subscribers. Now with Astro On-Demand, you are basically crushing the business of the TVB distributors. Of course, Astro couldn't care less as a profit making entity. However, there is such a thing called "equitable severance" - where TVB and Astro acknowledge the contribution, sacrifice and loss of earnings by the places licensed to distribute TVB programs.
The way it is going, why would anyone go to rent the dvds from the distributors anymore? Its funny how Astro keeps showing the hilarious advertorial on the guy trying to sell pirated dvds. The way Astro is making life hell for TVB distributors, Astro is directly responsible in turning probably all these distributors to selling pirated dvds later on anyway.
When companies grow big and expand, and control upstream and downstream, that's the effects of globalisation - the mamas and papas get shut down. Astro knows its draw card, its their delivery system, and they can do so much more (only if the government allows them the leeway): live horse races; interactive betting; home shopping network; internet access; etc... For distributors who have been slaving 5, 10 years only to find their livelihood curtailed - well, there better be some "equitable severance payments" for each year of service (I know Ralph Marshall and Ananda both are rolling their eyes now.) Did we trampled on people on our way to the top? Somehow companies nowdays will throw millions to buy better "corporate social responsibility" image/status: while here is something that they can set right themselves - how we do business reflects a lot on ourselves.