On the morning of 20th Nov 2022, I got the Jio Cinema app installed on my Amazon Fire Stick. It was great to have this facility, FREE. But the app opened with a few football clips that did not play. Also, the app did not have any dedicated tab for “Sports.” But the match was starting at Nine Thirty in the night and so I moved to another ‘very important’ things.
Come Nine or so in the night, and I prepared for myself for another 4-yearly football watch. For, India is the only country in the world that does not follow football, but is religious about watching the world-cup. I am exaggerating, but this is quite true in most of the cases.
Anyway, nine pm and I fire up the Amazon Prime and click the app JioCinema. Wow, an app update! So I update. And Lo! The specific tab for “sports” has appeared. I bless Ambani for hearing my inner voice. It has been long before anyone heard and implemented my suggestions on app enhancement.
Strangely, all the clips on display were probably JPEG files. One may be a GIF for it moved a fraction with each click. In 30 mins a grand show is going to start and THIS!
Nine Thirty confirmed my nervousness when the show started. But again, everything seemed sluggish. The picture moved in a way that seemed like a video game played with a bad internet connection. Players moved on screen as if jumping from pixel to pixel. I doubted my internet connections and so restarted my router even when my speed showed 53 mbps.
I am not a Jiocinema watcher. I am most of the time with Netflix, Hotstar, YouTube and Amazon. This Jio experience was the first and if things don’t improve, this will be the last.
In distress such as this, one looks for affirmation. So, off I go to twitter to find out if others too are facing the same. Nothing in “Trending,” nothing in “Sports.” Twitter appears pristine. So I enter the search “Jio.” and there is everything, all the affirmations I needed.
I still struggled with the show, but my eyes starting straining. Having watched quality all the time, this “buffering” watch was exhausting. By Nine Forty pm was done with the world cup for the day.
I went to sleep thinking about waking up to a storm in the media. I imagined all the newspapers carrying the front page caption on how “Jio” or “Ambani” “destroyed the World cup Football.” There is going to be a virtual “furore.” Thus was my “pipe dream.”
Next day, today, 21st Nov, I woke up with a picture of “Ambani” being pilloried. But nothing. I have a membership to Magzters, which has all the major newspapers in the world and one by one I opened all the India ones. I could find not a word in any of them. Total Prime-Time Media Silence.
Though on Google is one search with “Jio” “World cup” “buffering” and so forth, once gets the news and the apologies by Jio, but they are never in the front. They are not even in most of the notifications one gets on mobiles and tabs. I subscribe to some news notifications and I did not.
This is called propaganda success. Complete control of the media. Complete control of the government. So, what people see and read is what they permitted by whosoever controls the medium.
There is nothing bad in here. People in power and position will control. But, it is always important to realize that what you are being dished out is by design or intention, or both. That is all a powerless can do for their safeguards.
I have worked in an aviation company who, in their prime, exercised great controls on the media. There was an incident where an aircraft entered an “unused” runway and rammed on all the barricades while on a take-off run. Have you ever heard of this? Hardly. Another time, the pilot landed the aircraft so badly that the left wheel went into the left wing. The media diluted the narrative the first day like “aircraft blocks runway” and by the second day, they relegated it to a minor news-item.
Though traditional media may do “news-control” via their own PR medium (personal relations, and Ambani will not be short of this), a new “news-control” is happening via the AI – Artificial Intelligence. This AI subtly and surreptitiously can do what a PR manager might do with, say, ‘1000’ phone calls and negotiations.
Recently, KRK – Kamal R Khan got arrested, and I wrote a piece on him and tweeted it. This is before the Elon Musk era. The tweet refused to show on my account. It disappeared the moment I tweeted. I understood that the Algo (algorithm) was at work. Later, the tweet appeared, but the tweet analytics were suppressed. It was only recently, and with the ‘Elon Musk era’, that the tweet showed on the main page and the analytics are visible.
My this piece is a test on the ‘Elon Musk Era’ besides being my angst with Jiocinema which the Indian media have suppressed. I understand I can get the world cup on Tata Sky or Cable, but that investment is superfluous. I am not that a fanatic about football. In the end, what has actually happened is that Jio has taken an important event and reduced it to match with its own culture.