The leaders of the Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) have said that they are not against the promotion of foreign channels without advertisements or clean feed. However, Coab leaders fear that it will not be possible to retain subscribers if cable operator services are continued with only 34 Bangladeshi channels. Customers will move to various OTT platforms including YouTube, Facebook for their own benefit. This will quickly reduce the customer. Cable operator traders will suffer financially. At some point it will be difficult for them to sustain the business.
The Koab leaders said this at a press conference at a hotel in the capital’s Banani on Saturday afternoon in the wake of the government’s decision to shut down the Clean Feed foreign channel.
At the press conference, SM Anwar Parvez, the founding president of Kowab, said, “We are abiding by the order given by the government. The Ministry of Information is our guardian. On behalf of the cable operators, I humbly appeal to the Information Minister to take an initiative so that we can reactivate at least those foreign channels which are closed till the digitization process is completed.
Anwar Parvez, president of Coabe, demanded that the Cable Television Network Management Act of 2006 be amended. He said, ‘We have built this cable industry in 25 years. Here we are involved in the livelihood of four lakh people. The state of affairs on YouTube. The foreign channels that have been shut down in Bangladesh are uploading each of their serials on YouTube immediately. But the advertisement of Bangladeshi products is going on YouTube.
But this money is going to the YouTube company. Many apps are running from outside the country. Heechee, Netflix, Amazon, Hot Star, G-Five are all taking customers from Bangladesh. They are not taking customers in any legitimate way. But they are taking a lot of money from Bangladesh through customers.
“People will not sit still even if the foreign channels are closed,” he said. Will switch, moving from one place to another. If the cable TV network business sits on the street with this opportunity to switch, if we push the people involved in this sector towards unemployment, then who will take the responsibility? ‘
ABM Saiful Hossain, former organizing secretary of Kowab, thinks that the business will be closed due to the loss of customers due to the closure of foreign channels. At the same time, Saiful Hossain demanded that the Cable Television Network Management Act of 2006 be made up-to-date. Coab leader Saiful Hossain thinks, ‘We are in the cable operator business because we have customers. Those who run the television business survive in this business. When the Cable Television Network Management Act of 2006 was enacted, the context of cable TV, the global technological context, was completely different from the current context.
At that time there was no free movement of internet. OTT was not a platform. The channel was not broadcast via video streaming. YouTube didn’t have so many subscribers or the internet didn’t have so many subscribers. ‘
Commenting that it is not possible to retain subscribers with only 34 Bangla channels, ABM Saiful Hossain said, “Cable TV is not the only medium to meet the entertainment needs of the viewers. Now there are thousands of platforms like Netflix, Heechee, through which the content of the broadcast media will go directly to the customer. Implementing clean feeds is not possible for cable operators. Clean feeds will only be implemented when the broadcaster cleans and streams that feed. Until that happens, as a cable operator, I will never be able to provide clean feed content to my customers.
Nizam Uddin Masud, former secretary general of Kowab also spoke at the press conference. Hundreds of cable operators and traders were present at the press conference.