People in India have been anxiously waiting for Netflix to start providing their services in this country for a long time now. Netflix recently embarked on their campaign to offer their services worldwide in about 130 countries and India was one of them. What took them so long? Surely India, being one of the most populous countries in the world, would be a good target.
There were a few things that kept Netflix out of India to begin with. Spotty internet access was certainly one of them but that situation is improving daily. The strong desire for local content and the difficulties in securing licensing for this content was another challenge. In the end though Netflix decided to bite the bullet and launch in India.
The excitement that surrounded the launch soon waned as people who signed up for the free trial to watch Netflix India soon realized that all was not as expected. The content offering was just a tiny fraction of the amount of content that Netflix offer to their American viewers. How little was this? Well, estimates are that Netflix India offers around 13% of the titles that are available in the US. Just 13%! When you take the exchange rate into account the subscription fee for users in India is only slightly less than that of the American service. As far as bang for your buck goes Netflix users in India are getting a raw deal.
The other source of disappointment has been the small amount of locally produced shows and movies on Netflix India. Yes, Netflix has had Bollywood movies in their offering for a while now but nowhere near enough to satisfy the insatiable appetites of India viewers. Netflix, to their credit, have said that they plan to improve this situation and they have already begun discussions with a number of Indian movie and television production houses.
Meanwhile it seems that the honeymoon period is over and a lot of people who signed up for the Netflix free trial in India have decided not to pay up to continue using the service. Netflix, no doubt, are not surprised by this and even if they have a horrible attrition rate the fact that they’re playing in a market of 1 Billion plus means that they are sure to turn a profit.
Many more tech savvy Netflix users in India have decided to keep up their subscription but have begun to use VPN’s and Smart DNS proxies to watch American Netflix in India. Netflix whine and complain that this is against their terms of service and have promised to crack down on this. While some reports have been made of users experiencing being blocked by Netflix when using these techniques the companies that offer these unblocking services always manage to get around the best efforts of Netflix. For now it seems that if you want to get your money’s worth from your Netflix India subscription make sure you are accessing the worldwide content.
The idea of hitting the jackpot is one that has captured the imagination of many a punter and the people who play the Thailand Lottery are no different. Well, actually that’s not quite true. In Thailand people are pretty fanatical about playing the lottery with a significant percentage of the country’s inhabitants playing each month.
The Thailand lottery draw takes place twice a month. The draw dates are normally on the first and sixteenth of each month. The draw dates are delayed by a day where the draw would normally fall on a public holiday. There are a number of things that make the Thai lottery different from those in other countries and not least of which is how the tickets are sold.
Thai lottery tickets can be bough in stores like 7-Elevens and the like but mostly they are bought from street vendors who set up their tables or trays just about anywhere. While the standard price of the tickets is marked on the ticket these vendors add their markup on this base price. For a long time the amount they added was up to their discretion and they would ask higher prices for tickets that had what people perceived as lucky number combinations. Since the military junta took over control of the country they have started regulating the amount that these vendors can charge over and above the base price of the ticket.
The Thai lottery tickets are also sold in pairs. This means that if your ticket wins you actually have two winning tickets as the pairs are printed with identical numbers. This also means that whatever the prize money is reported as is actually doubled seeing as there are two winning tickets. Pretty bizarre.
The results of the Thailand lottery are posted on the official Thai lottery board’s website and in newspapers. Long before the draw happens though people look to all sorts of avenues for inspiration for lucky numbers. The Thai people are deeply superstitious and often associate disasters and accidents with portents of lucky numbers. This means that often license plate numbers of cars involved in accidents on highways are used as inspiration for what are called “sure numbers”.
The payouts and the odds of winning the Thai lottery aren’t as generous when compared to lotteries in other countries and this fact has fueled a massive underground lottery in the country. The authorities turn a blind eye to this as it has become fairly institutionalized. In spite of the odds of actually winning any lottery, never mind the Thai lottery, it seems that this past time will continue as people dream of hitting those lucky numbers one day.
We all dread that moment when you stand in the checkout line at a shop with a long queue of people behind you and the lady at the till tells you that your credit card has been declined. Since the economic crisis in 2008 this scenario has become all too common and South Africa has not been immune to the worldwide economic troubles. Prior to 2008 lending regulations in South Africa were tightened and this softened the blow for most people but eventually the burden of over-indebtedness caught up with the big spenders and this mainly in the middle to lower classes. As a result debt review and debt counselling processes were put into place to assist consumers.
The National Credit Act
In 2007 the NCA, or National Credit Act, was introduced in South Africa to regulate how credit was extended to consumers as well as to prescribe what steps were to be followed in case a consumer got into too much debt. This act put the brakes on businesses that were extending credit to people either without first checking to see if they could make the payments or extending them credit even when they knew that they didn’t have the means to make the repayments.
The NCA also describes the steps a consumer can take in order to get relief if they get in over their head. This process is called Debt Review
How Does Debt Review Work in South Africa?
The process is fairly simple and there are a number of websites that explain the South African Debt Review process but in short these are the steps that are followed:
The indebted consumer meets with a debt counselor, enters contractually into a debt review process and collates a list of all the debt they have.
The debt counselor will assist the consumer to compile a workable budget that includes a portion for debt repayments.
The debt counselor will then contact the consumer’s creditors and negotiate a repayment amount that the consumer can afford.
Once an agreement is reached then payment of funds are made either by the consumer directly to his creditors or he may choose to use a payment distribution agency or PDA to make the process simpler.
The Debt Review process has been designed to maximize the possibility that a consumer will be able to become debt free while avoiding the penalties that go along with running up debt without doing anything to clear it.
The South African Debt Counselling industry has become more and more regulated both out of an escalation of indebted households but also because of some people seeing this process as an opportunity to make money from desperate debt burdened people. Before entering debt review it’s always a good idea to make sure that the agency you approach is recognized by the relevant industry bodies.