Sunday, November 16, 2003

Mystery Show

Mystery Show
dimuat di Bisnis Indonesia

A mother tells a story that her two years old son suddenly often struck by fear when the door at home is left open. The toddler is afraid if a ghost suddenly appeared from behind of the opened door. Another mother shares a story of her daughter who used to be known as brave suddenly becomes easily scared. Even to bathroom in the house, the girl demands to be accompanied. Lately, as reported by national newspaper, the two mothers realize that their children have unintentionally watched mystery show in TV.

Our TV screen, is now very frightening. The reason is almost all TV stations broadcast show of ‘spirits’. The formats are various, from short film, miniseries, adventure, investigation to standard program such as infotainment.

Indeed, majority of the program is aired at night. One of the purposes is to enhance the mystery effect or frightening ambience of the program. But there are TV stations that carelessly air these frightening shows in the evening, even afternoon. At least, the promos of these mystery shows are oftenly filled in afternoon and evening programs, even in the programs, which designated to the children.

More disturbing is, these mystery, sorcery and superstitious shows are continuously shown during Ramadhan, when Muslim people conducting fasting month. In the blessed month, all TV stations indeed polish themselves with spiritual programs. But the mystery shows’ portion are not reduced.

’What can we say, these mystery shows have high ratings. Even higher than infotainment or dangdut’, claimed one top official of a private TV station.

Rating – is the crux of the matter. The owner and management of TV stations are still put rating in pedestal, as indicator of success of a program. This happened because the advertisers also use the same language that is rating language to decide where to place the budget of their advertisement.

Annoyingly, mystery shows with high rating oftenly produced only to trigger the primitive instinct of human – fear. This instinct is unique. The more a person is frightened, the more interested he is to search for the source of his fear.

In other world, these ’satanic’ programs are not meant to be education programs. If found later that these shows tend to bring viewers to be polytheist, obviously the owners and management of TV stations will wash their hands of this matter and feel that they are not responsible.

’This is an industry with high capital, ideally a program should be educating, entertaining and saleable. But educating and entertaining program not necessarily saleable. Oppositely, the saleable programs could be not educating’, revealed an official in Indonesia Private TV Station Association.

Program Creativity and Human Resources

Up to this point, it seems that there’s no meeting point to solve this dilemma. Even though, this is not a problem without solution. TV stations should be more creative in developing higher quality shows. Here, TV producers could involve a research team, which able to understand clearly what are programs that demanded by viewers.

Quiz with millions and billions Rupiahs prize could be conducted, as long as covered by something, which is educative. Short film could be made, but without misleading viewers by hedonist lifestyle which oftenly lead to moral degradation. Infotainment could be produced, as long as not only gossiping and pitching one with another.

There is no prohibition in making criminal report program, as long as not frightening people on the street. Making mystery shows also would not be a problem, if the purpose is to bring closer one to his God.

It is a shame that the tendencies and facts in Indonesia are disappointing. The high number of TV stations is not bring them to be more competitive, least creative. What happened is, when one TV station reaps success with certain program, other TV stations will follow suit with duplications.

This duplication process has started to infect many Production Houses, which are main suppliers to non-news program in our TV stations. Duplication could be done by simply copying foreign program or by adapting successful program of other TV station.

This situation is effect of the limited numbers of human resources in television. This is the cause of interesting phenomenon, when a new TV station is established, there are rampant hijacking of human resources. This can be understood as to be able to run in speed, a new TV station should be equipped with experienced human resources. Dan, the easiest shortcut to fulfill this human resources need is to hijack from other TV stations.

Until certain limit, this phenomenon will not be a prominent problem. But if left dragging, could be counterproductive to our TV industry. Thus, if this situation is not addressed promptly, do cease the dream that our TV stations will be able to reap success in international stage. The skepticism is they may have surrendered, to develop programs, merely for profit without responsibility to moral degradation of viewers. Indeed, this is a terrible attitude. In my opinion, all of us – the owners, professionals and consumers of TV programs – would not want that to happen.