Romania’s Cable Wars…

..started when RCS-RDS, a Romanian TV Cable and Internet company, began to foully remove Discovery Channel from its list of channels. RCS-RDS, RDS shortly, invoked plain foolish reasons as to why they won’t provide Discovery Channel anymore from the date 30th November 2012. Main reason they presented in their Facebook post: Discovery asks too much money.

Obviously they mentioned that Discovery Channel asked in 2012 twice as more as in 2008 because of the rise of USD vs Leu exchange rate. FIY, the exchange rate was in 2008 about 2.8 lei for 1 USD and in 2012 3.4 lei for 1 USD. So, for a first lie this wasn’t good at all.

The reaction of many, me including? We will terminate our Cable TV contract because they want to take out Discovery Channel from their list of channels. I took a big printscreen of the entire post with comments and inserted in a .rar archive as WordPress won’t allow me to upload it in the post.

If you use Google translate and see how upset the subscribers are you can understand why this is a big deal. I dare call it a big deal because we, as Romanians, rarely take action in groups for a common cause. The elimination of Discovery Channel from the list of programmes is a fire ready to burn in a full blown anti-RDS revolution. Or so I would hope.

For the first time in many years the customers railed up to teach a company one thing: customers are not cows that give you milk. Customers are people and you should respect that and ask for their opinion too if you want to keep them close.

The second reason RDS invoked was the fact that only 1% of the subscribers watch Discovery Channel. Let me let you a thing: two years I did not have cable TV and in September I created the subscription again. Main channels it will be on are Discovery Channel, National Geographic or Music channels. None of the others. A March 2012 study done by Mercury Research for Discovery found out that 17% of the subscribers have a RDS TV Cable subscription for the sole reason that they offer Discovery Channel. If all 17% would leave RDS these days that would be a big a accomplishment for Romanian consumers a whole.

Next lie: that they will replace the Discovery Channels with better (and cheaper channels) like their own Digi Sport, Digi Life and Digi World. Those channels were meant to be a direct competitor of Discovery Channel. That is fine. Competition will always be good, but why the f@ck do you simply take the competition out in order to leave us with your half baked medium quality reseller shows? Why?

Why? Because of two reasons: people would still watch Discovery Channels and they would not be able to make real money off of advertising those Digi channels. This is why they overstep the carrier/service boundary and transform them selves in bullies and serf-servicing police of the TV channels. Since when is a TV Cable company allowed to NOT listed to customers voice when they see clearly that 17% want Discovery?

I hope the story does not stop here and that many more will follow me in ending the subscription with RDS. They want to take that channel out saying that it’s too costly, but by doing this they won’t lower the subscription prices. PR fail and all out scoundrel behavior.

RDS is not at the first act of eliminating TV channels. They have done the same with Antena 1, GSP and few other channels. Of course, they inserted their own programs in place. They mentioned they want to let culture be a safe place in their channels list. Then why deleting Discovery from there?

Discovery created a special page to make us all aware of this abuse RDS is doing. From a business perspective I can understand, but that also means trampling the customers and their will. Most of the media attention from Romania is turned against RDS and their brute behavior. There is a place where you are big enough that your actions can affect thousands of people. RDS has 35% market share of Cable TV in Romania. Big enough to affect a sizeable amount of TV fans.

RDS deserves all the backlash it gets in these times and regardless if they will keep Discovery in a separate plan (which does not seem to be their plans, anyways) I do not want to freaking deal with them again. At least for Cable TV as they have internet subscriptions that are, incredibly, speedy enough to put us in 3rd place worldwide of internet speed chart.

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