From time to time, I’d hear someone complain about the program content of local TV stations which mostly consists of sinetrons (the Indonesian version of soap opera/telenovela), celebrity gossip shows (deceptively dubbed as ‘infotainments’), ‘reality shows’ (which deserves the quotation marks as most make a pathetic attempt at even appearing real), etc. It got me thinking, what exactly do people expect?
As much as I agree that most TV stations do broadcast fluff and utter garbage, they’re businesses which are ultimately founded and developed to garner profit. In order to get money, TV stations have to attract advertisers. To do this, they must be watched, as no advertiser worth their salt would place ads in a program that nobody watches. Now to be watched, they must entertain the public, which means giving the public what it wants. If the public wants fluff and utter garbage, what can TV stations do?
After all, isn’t ‘good free TV’ an oxymoron?