Saturday, April 2, 2011

Program on NDTV Imagine/Zoom tv

Talk about blatant lies on national television? You need to go no further than two of popular TV channels (NDTV Imagine and ZOOM). Come 11 Pm and both the channels air a program(the name of which is unclear) in which a picture is flashed on screen and viewers are asked to call an 8 digit number flashing below to win large sums of money. So far it all appears innocuous and healthy way to quiz people and generate some revenue. The real extent of the wanton act of cheating that the channels are indulging in is apparent if a sane headed man spends few minutes watching the program or is lured into the trap(as i was the 1st time). Now, there are two good looking anchors exhorting you to pick up the mobile phone and call the number and win insane amount of money easily as the puzzle which is usually a combination of two famous actors morphed together is solvable even by a blind man. The anchors receive calls every few minutes and to my surprise, the caller gives most ludicrous of replies but never the right one. I for one was curious to know as to what this was all about and hence called the number. When you call the number, you are put on hold while a recorded voice keeps saying that you are lucky and you are on wait. I waited for over three minutes but to no avail and then decided to disconnect. I was shocked when I received a message from the mobile service provider that Rs 36/- had been deducted from my account. I was stupefied. I didn't make an ISD call, did I? Then I saw the fine print on the TV screen which in the tiniest of fonts says, that special call rates apply here which is Rs 12/- per min. I felt cheated and upset in the way I was. I decided to watch the program intently and find out if there was any truth in it at all. The following emerged:- 1. The caller never gives the right answer despite it being as clear as elbow and the Anchor’s arse. 2. The exhortations of anchors are so shallow and you can almost read on their faces that they are lying through their teeth. 3. The callers who supposedly get though, I believe are fakes as they never have TV background disturbing their calls and are never surprised to have got through. 4. In essence, the modus-operandi of the channel is to fool the viewer into making the expensive call and thus make a killing. 5. The correct answer is always found by a viewer calling at the end of the program. But it's a call as brief as it can be and no details of the viewer/winner are announced. Clearly, like everything else about the program, this is stage-managed too. In our country there is no dearth of first time viewers who are lured into the trap of making the call without reading the subtext being flashed intermittently that keeps them legally safe. So the onus of preventing such blatant acts of cheating should rest with the govt which should audit such malfeasance periodically. My advice, avoid these programs/channels by a mile.