If what you seek is entertainment, Kenyan TV is the last place to look. Here is why:
1. Similar schedules
Kenyan TV stations have a peculiar habit of airing the same type of programmes at the same time. Maybe this is a way to compete and outdo each other but still, not everyone wants to watch news at 1pm,4pm, 7pm and 9pm. Not everyone wants to watch gospel music videos every Sunday from 6am to 1pm. If there was a station that could air something different like sports or a movie when every other station is doing latino soaps then it would really capitalize on the rest of us who loathe soap operas.
2. Intensive censoring
Censoring is a great way to keep adult and offensive content from the wrong audience. But when a show is rated 18+,tagged SNL for Sex, Nudity and bad Language, and aired past 10pm then it is surprising to see it censored and some parts with adult content even mild kissing censored out. Try watching How I met Your Mother on KTN and you will get my drift. It is not any fun when the Barney lines are censored. And Barney has to sound dirty, that’s just who he is. He is the reason most of us watch the show.
3. Low quality content – Nigerian movies/Cheap latino soaps/Old “chinese” Kungfu movies
I know this is a commercial endeavour and one the goals is to reduce the expenditures. But when you reduce it to the extent of playing Nigerian movies every other time then you lose quality. Citizen is very notorious for this. If they are going to call it Afro Sinema they should at least show movies from all around Africa. Not Nigerian movies with their same actors, overexploited themes and low budget stuff produced in under a day. Where are the Kenyan movies?
And where do I get started with the latino soaps. Every local channel in Kenya today can’t wait to give a slot to yet another soap. The soaps are low budget and it’s always the same theme. Rich boy, poor girl, evil stepmother/mother-in-law, child born out of wedlock, I mean what else have you got?
Citizen TV has only one slot in a week for non-Nigerian movies.They use it for old “chinese” kungfu movies. The stuff we watched back in the old days when guys refered to the lead star as “Actor” and the antagonist as “Boss”. And it is in the old bad video and audio quality. Really? Royal Media. Really?
Imagine you are watching a movie. The suspense has already grown and suddenly it is interrupted for a live broadcast of parliament proceeding that will go for the next 5hrs. And this comes without a warning and without a reschedule. Am speaking from experience
5. Airing other channels without order
If you are going to air CNN or TCM or Cartoon Network in realitime you should properly time the beginning and end of programmes of that channel to coincide with your time slots. And you can only run ads when they do. Otherwise their is no point of having it realtime or showing it at all.
6. Editing out parts of movie to fit time slots
Unlike most Nigerian movies and latino soaps that you can start watching at any point and get the flow, most Western movies are different. In that they are carefully done and every teeny bit matters. You can’t take anything for granted: not a facial expression, not something that a passerby says in passing no matter how irrellevant it seems. Because somewhere along the movie they will make a refence to it and you won’t get it. So when they deliberately cut out huge sections, they make it suck. That is what I experinced the other day when I was watching “fallen angels” on KTN. Luckily I had seen it a million years ago already. So when they cut out half of a scene or skipped some I knew what had happened. But someone who hadn’t seen it earlier would be confused towards the end.
7. Terrible acting/Directing
If you’ve seen Tahidi High you know what am talking about. This is a talented group of actors but I don’t know who writes their scripts or directs them. You can’t go a few minutes without spotting a long unnecessary facial expression here and an unnatural conversation there. “Beba Beba” on NTV is the same and so are lots others. But it’s not all bad. A new show on KTN – “Changin Times” – is changing the times. Great quality, great acting and worthwhile themes. Maybe the rest should follow suit.