TV Networks offer A Taste of the Old Country

“Every evening, millions of families in India gather around their TV sets to watch “Balika Vadhu,” a soap opera about a married 8-year-old girl. At the same time, Indian households in the U.S. that have access to it switch to Appka Colors on the Dish Network to catch the child-bride saga, weighing in with their friends and relatives in India on online message boards.”

This article from the Los Angeles Times talks about how India immigrants in the US have access to many of the same TV shows that their relatives back home in India, thanks to cable and satellite offerings.  An estimated one third of Indian-American households subscribe to at least one of these channels.  Modern telecommunications have made it so many immigrants, not just Indians, have access to programming from the home country.  In my house, ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel (TFC) is on a lot of the time, allowing the Wife and the brother–in-law (BIL) to keep up with the latest in the Filipino entertainment.  BIL says that some shows like Wowowee are more popular in the US and abroad than the Filipinos.  Wowowee certainly caters to the balikbayan (the Filipino returning to the Philippines), as audience members often sport signs saying where they now live in the world.

Comcast Cable South Asian TV Channel Offerings

A concern of some of Indian channels is how to engage younger generations of viewers.   My kids definitely are not interested in TFC, probably because they don’t speak Tagalog.  I will occasionally watch TFC if it is already on and it isn’t something nauseating like Wowowee, but I won’t change the channel to it intentionally.  To their credit, TFC does have some programming that involves US entertainers and subjects, such as Adobo Nation, which will interview such famous Filipino Americans as Mark Dacascos (host of Iron Chef America and star of action movies) and UFC fighter Brandon Vera (whose Tagalog is pretty good for being a hapa) and other amusing folks such as Travis Kraft.

I’m curious, how many of you subscribe to “Old Country” channels on cable or satellite TV?  We do in my house.  If so, do you watch it?  If you don’t watch these channels, why not, and what kind of programming would it take to make you watch?

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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