The 63rd Miss World pageant took place on Saturday September 28, 2013. It began at 7:30 PM in Bali. Take note of that time. Bali is 13 hours ahead of Jamaica. Which means that the pageant started at 6:30 AM local time. As you should have guessed by now, this post isn't about the pageant. Nope, instead it's about the silliness of a certain media company which seems to be stuck in the dark ages.
Television Jamaica (TVJ) bought the rights to air the pageant in Jamaica. So bright and early Saturday morning, many Jamaicans woke up, turned on their TV sets, tuned in to TVJ and were greeted with the TVJ programme Smile Jamaica. No one was smiling. It was eventually discovered that TVJ had decided to air the Miss World pageant as a delayed broadcast Saturday night. And since they were the exclusive rights holder, they also bludgeoned the cable companies into blocking the international channels carrying the pageant.
Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with the annoyance of many would be viewers of the pageant. Some posted links to live Internet streams, while others shared updates for those who were unable to view the streams. Some people even called relatives overseas. And of course, once the winner was decided, that was instantly all over the Internet. The Jamaica Observer even published a little write up at 9:23 AM. The Jamaica Observer scooped TVJ.
TVJ aired the pageant at 8:30 PM. Yes, you read that right. That was over 10 hours after the pageant ended. By this time, everyone already knew the winner. Everyone knew that Jamaica didn't win. And the people who were really interested already watched it online. Even people in deep rural Jamaica have telephone and Internet access thanks to the mobile networks. No one was crowding around their TV, waiting with bated breaths to see where Jamaica would place, or who would win. We already knew the outcome half a day before.
If I were an advertiser I would certainly not have bought airtime during the pageant, which they must have sold at a premium. And if I bought it in ignorance, I'd want a refund! What they did was like delaying the broadcast of a race with Usain Bolt, showing it hours later when everyone already knew the outcome. That certainly affected viewership.
TVJ seems oblivious to the fact that we live in a world with many channels of information. They are increasingly irrelevant. And delaying the broadcast of a live event with mass appeal doesn't help their case. They should change their tag line to "Just Look at Us Later", or never.