In the previous posts of this series, I have written a bit about the media scene in Pakistan. Now Iâ€™ll discuss the TV Industry of Pakistan in detail. Coming to the point, in this post Iâ€™ll try to discuss the boom in the TV industry of Pakistan. As discussed in my intro post, the TV Industry of Pakistan can be divided into two main tiers, the state owned channels and the privately owned ones. Then there are the sub-categories of Entertainment channels (Both Urdu and Regional Lingo ones), News Channels, Youth/Music Channels, Sports Channel finally thousands of cable operatorâ€™s channels/City channels.
In this post Iâ€™ll try to give you a brief summary of PTV, the largest in terms of coverage and viewer ship of all TV channels. PTV is now almost 43 years Old (Transmission started in November, 1964). Usually this period in time is enough to learn upon and improve any organization. In the case of PTV, a totally opposite trend can be observed with its quality detoriating. Although PTV now operates many channels including a global one but it’s performance is quite discouraging. This Government owned channel is rapidly becoming a laughing stock as far as its programming is concerned. The technical department of this channel is working in the stone ages, I presume. Just by looking at the quality of print, lighting, camera work and graphics one can guess that no improvement is being done.
Another department (being a vital one) that needs some drilling is the set design. Just look at the funny sets, especially those of Lahore PTV station. Iâ€™ll here quote an example: Has any of you got the chance to see the program, â€œRaat Gayeâ€ being aired from Lahore for many months? Well the set (also the program) is totally ill managed, they do have put some money in lavish set props but the basic design is chaotic. The guests canâ€™t see the singer/musicians as the arrangement is such that bound to sit with their backs to them.
The dram which were once the sole strength of PTV have deteriorated to a level that they are not watchable to say the least. In good old days a drama used to put a break in daily life or citizens people would not keep weddings and parties on days on which a popular drama was to be aired. These drama serials still have quality content and plots generally relate to the issues of common man. But the gory sets, lighting/Camera work and post production really kills the story. Even if these dramas depict a scene related to elite class, the set is so murky that it looks like they are showing some low area dwellings. Add to this poor lighting and all the related poor post production stuff.
It is also lacking behind the news department. previously PTV was the only channel to see the current affairs now with the advent of news channels the PTV still reports in the same old style one sided story and i know that now not many people would turn to PTV for real news.
Having some well placed sources in PTV, I know a bit about all the bureaucratic laziness looming on this channel. PTV still charges the highest amount of money for airing commercials but their revenue is fast receding. A Marketing personnel of PTV told me that they are now accepting every type of Ads even the â€œTelebrandsâ€ type too to meet their expenditures. He slammed the PTV administration for their strict censor policy (Many Ads these days are quite obscene according to PTV standards) as itâ€™s proving detrimental to PTVâ€™s advertising revenues. PTV is still getting substantial advertising revenues only because of its huge coverage, he said. There are also some extremely controversial issues regarding hiring and nepotism etc which Iâ€™ll not discuss in this article.
On a final note, I donâ€™t see a brighter future of our State owned channel channel. They are totally wasting their huge infrastructure and coverage lead. With stiff competition and more and more channels cropping up, PTVâ€™s administration have to take emergency measures to deal with this situation. Otherwise they have to face the music.