OTV takes a dive in my black box

Date posted: June 4, 2008


Yasmine Abdalla

CEO & Managing Director


Dear Yasmine

I have hesitated a lot before writing you this note but after a long thought process, and against the advice of all my good friends, I decided that I owe you this much. I also decided not to publish what I have to tell you in any of the magazines that I write for to avoid any awkwardness. I hope you manage to free yourself for half an hour to read my lengthy communique.

First of all I would like to thank you for making me a familiar TV face – I will not go as far as saying a celebrity. I remember when we first met you told me that you are "making a somebody out of nobody" … that was not very nice of you and at the end of the day time will be the best judge on what is the definition of a "somebody" and a "nobody". But yes, I owe you my first appearance on TV and I admit that I trained for almost a year and a half at your channel. Looking back at my early recordings, I have to admit, I have come a long way.

I would also like to apologize for breaking one of your rules; no one will become a star on my account (محدش هيتنجم على حسابى) … yeah … we have all heard you promise and threaten. This brings me to the main purpose of this letter – I know a thing or two about marketing and a thing or two about management; hence some advice is due:

1) There is a huge difference between a manager and a leader; one gets lost in the minute particles of the day to day operations while the other is blessed with vision. I have been watching you stumble and lose vision. What is the vision of OTV? What is its mission? Who is your target audience? Why are you in business? If, as a viewer, I cannot identify your competitive edges, then you have lost your way. I played a mapping game with my students in class and they could not position OTV.

2) Leaders invest in their teams while managers milk their staff. I will not talk about your presenters here; I will talk about me – a guest. What was threatening about me growing and shooting other programs? A true leader would have seen this as an asset to the show. My success as a writer, trainer, presenter, or whatever job I do will only add to my role on OTV. But … yeah … no one will become a star on your account!

3) Leaders are accessible to their teams while managers hide behind closed doors and procedures. I did not backstab you when I took part in another program. I presented my idea to the producer who presented it to your head of production and for some reason the answer I got was: "we are sorry. We have no budget. Good luck." I clearly explained that I will pitch the idea to someone else and again I was wished good luck. If you did not know that story, then you have an internal communication problem. If you knew it, then you had no right to look upset when I finished shooting the show and scream exclusivity.

4) Leaders welcome information whereas managers walk around with their ears and eyes wide shut. I tried to call you to tell you that rumor has it that you instructed your producers not to host any veiled girls on their shows if and whenever possible. I have nothing against the principle but when I learnt of several incidents where the guest was brushed off because she was veiled, then it was my duty to let you know and you should have listened in private to what I am now telling you in public. Those guests are talking and now there is a huge question mark about the intentions and the direction of your channel.

5) Last but not least, the idea of exclusivity on guests is not very bright. I am sure you know that by now. Successful businesses operate on win-win situations but you thought you controlled all the strings! To add insult to injury, you gave me 24 hours to make up my mind or else I will be kicked out of heaven! When I asked about what was in it for me, I was told that I got to be on TV … how lame?!! When I asked for more time and more money in return for my undivided commitment, I got a semi termination of services email … how professional!! Did it even occur to you that I passed on all events and commitments on Sundays because of my segment … because I gave you my word … but again … why would you care?

Yes, I am angry, sad, bitter, pissed off, and offended … but now that this is off my chest … I can resume with my life while you try to keep your head above the water.

Yours truly,
Marwa Rakha 

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