Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jang Group's Geo TV Suffering Heavy Financial Losses

Geo TV has lost 80% of its viewers and billions of rupees in advertising revenue since it accused Pakistan's ISI of attempting to assassinate its anchor Hamid Mir last April, according to credible reports in the mainstream media.

Pakistan's once most-watched cable-satellite television channel Geo, with the country's largest newsgathering network, has lost more than 80% of its viewers in less than a month, according to the BBC. In addition to Geo News channel, major cable operators across the country have blocked transmission of all other channels of the group, including Geo Super, Geo Tez, Geo Kahani and Geo Entertainment.

Among the biggest advertisers, the mobile phone companies accounting for 20% of media spend on Geo group, have pulled their marketing campaigns from Geo Network, including Geo News, Geo Kahani, Geo Super and Geo Entertainment, according to website which covers telecommunications news.

Pakistan's Top 20 TV Cable-Satellite Channels. Source: Gallup Pakistan
Geo News ranks number 2 and Geo Entertainment ranks 6th among cable-satellite channels in terms of viewers in Pakistan, according to Gallup Pakistan TV ratings data for 2013. Gallup report shows that India's Star Plus tops the list with an average daily viewership of around 12 million Cable and Satellite Viewers during the time period Jan-June (2013). It's followed by PTV Home and Geo News with approximately 8 million average daily Cable and Satellite Viewers.

Overall TV Ratings 2010. Source: 
Terrestrial channels operated by PTV and ATV continue to dominate the overall television viewing in the country.  2010 data from shows PTV Home garnering the highest market share at 46% of all viewers.

Jang Media Group which owns Geo TV channels has been the biggest beneficiary of the 2002 media deregulation ordered by former President Pervez Musharraf. The Jang group is also credited with bringing down the Musharraf government with its heavy coverage of the lawyers movement to restore the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Mr. Munir Malik, one of Mr. Chaudhry's key allies, said in an interview recently that the lawyers movement could not have succeeded without the backing of Geo TV and other media outlets and civil society which grew up during Musharraf years. Jang Group has been facing rising criticism for what the critics call "sensationalism" and "irresponsible" journalism.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Prof Noam Chomsky on Indian Media

Pakistan's Media and Telecom Revolution

Hamid Mir's Ties to Terrorists and Spies

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Geo TV Under Fire

Muslim Santa Claus Commercializes Ramadan

Wikileaks on Jang Group

Arsalan Iftikhar's Corruption Scandal

Chaudhry is No Angel


Riaz Haq said...

Star Plus is already #1 in viewership in Pakistan. Is this new Zee channel a Trojan horse?

The Zee network will soon be launching a channel Zindagi which will only air Pakistani content. The channel, slated to be launched on June 23, will pick successful Pakistani television soaps and dramas for its Indian viewers, reported Forbes India.
To test this idea, short clips of Pakistani shows were shown to families across India. The feedback reinforced the belief that these shows will work with the masses.
“The market today is already being fragmented with varied classes of people opting for a variety of content. We want to make sure we have an offering for the premium mass Hindi-speaking markets. This will help us expand our audience base, tap into premium advertisers and shore up revenues in the long run,” said Punit Goenka, MD and CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.
The audience for such content is about 40 million TV homes. India has a total of 140 million homes that watch television.
In the early stages, the channel will air four hours of new programming every day; as time will progress, it will pick up content from other parts of the world as well and commission new programmes that will be produced both in India and Pakistan.
Several novels are also being converted into soaps and 12 telefilms have been commissioned.
Just like Pakistan, memories of classic shows like Dhoop Kinaare and Ankahi are still strong with the Indian audiences of the 1980s. However, the question is, will young viewers connect with this genre?

Riaz Haq said...

New Delhi: They melted millions of hearts in the middle-east, not just with their charming looks but with their ethnic respectful dialects also and within a short span of time have gained stupendous female following in India.

It surprises me at how many gems have been in the Pakistan fashion industry that went unnoticed by many neighbouring countries including India.

Zee Entertainment has recently brought-in most amazing TV shows from the neighbouring country, Pakistan, through their platform 'Zindagi', and introducing some of the hottest hunks to the Indian audiences, who have already been a hit among young girls.

With the current TV series 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai' storming the Indian household with complete entertainment, actor Fawad Afzal Khan a.k.a Zaroon Junaid has got himself millions of young Indian fans dying to get his glimpse each time he sneaks away from the frame.

Another Pakistan hot model Osman Khalid Butt a.k.a Aunn from famed former TV show Aunn Zara too made his way to win hearts with his innocent charm and naive smile.

These men with their robust look, amazing style sense and fierce attitude are slowly and steadily cementing their foothold in the Indian entertainment industry.

Not just bagging huge modeling assignments, some of them have even caught hold of big Bollywood projects.

Take a look at some of most suave Pakistani actors currently ruling the Indian television industry here...

Riaz Haq said...

In the first batch of ratings for the month of Ramadan from Pakistan, ARY Digital has been crowned the clear leader.
According to Medialogic data for Females CnS (calculated 15 minute time-bands), ARY Digital grabbed 1285 GRPs in the first ten days of Ramadan.
Express Entertainment boasted of 1230 GRPs, while Hum TV was a distant third with 559 GRPs.
In further good news for ARY Digital, its gameshow ‘Jeeto Pakistan’ raked in 8.62 TRPs between 19:30 and 22:00 on Wednesday 9th July. During the same period, Express Entertainment was second with 5.18 TRPs, A Plus in third with 2.13 TRPs and Urdu 1 in fourth with 1.43 TRPs. In the UK, ‘Jeeto Pakistan’ is aired at 20:30 on ARY Digital.

- See more at:

Inaam said...

Do you realize the way Geo has been silenced, its transmission completely blocked all over Pakistan. You may revel in the power of ISI and Army to do such things, but then our Army has always been known to conquer its own territory many times over.This is Fascist and happens in dictator ship.

Riaz Haq said...

Inaam: "Do you realize the way Geo has been silenced, its transmission completely blocked all over Pakistan. You may revel in the power of ISI and Army to do such things, but then our Army has always been known to conquer its own territory many times over.This is Fascist and happens in dictator ship."

Jang Group has been the biggest beneficiary of Musharraf-era media liberalization; it;s also been the biggest abuser of this new-found freedom. No country, not even liberal democracies, allow media group's like Jang to attack not just individuals but entire institutions of the state of Pakistan. There's no equivalent of Jang Group in US or India. AlJazeera had an extremely difficult finding cable operators in US until it bought Current TV but AlJazeera America is a very tame incarnation of AlJazeera Arabic.

Riaz Haq said...

Until 2002, Pakistan’s broadcast media was a narrow field; it had one radio station, Radio Pakistan, started in 1947 and one state-owned television channel, Pakistan Television, started in 1964; both were mouthpieces for officially slanted information, alongside privately held print media dominated by three major consortiums: the liberal Jang Group, owned by the media magnate Shakeel ur-Rahman (this group now owns the broadcast and web outlet GEO); the Nawai Waqt Group, which treads a right-wing line, and the English-language Dawn Group, the most moderate of the three (the newspaper Dawn was founded in 1941 in Delhi, India, by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of Pakistan’s independence movement, to promote the moderate ideals of his Muslim League).

Then, in 2002, Gen. Pervez Musharraf decided to open Pakistan to the global flow of information in order to reverse decades of isolation. He allowed private television channels and FM radio stations to obtain licenses, setting off a media boom. Their reporting during the conflicts that followed 9/11 and spilled over into Pakistan allowed these television channels to flourish, taking viewers away from state media in favor of more independent reporting.

Ironically, General Musharraf himself forced GEO off the air temporarily in 2007 when the channel criticized his suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. But today, out of office, the general once again flirts with the media as he tries to return to politics.

The media have grown to 40 news channels, 143 radio stations, and hundreds of national and regional newspapers. For that they are often called “vibrant.”

Another descriptor is “vulgar.” On prime-time television, news is sensationalized, with ratings the first consideration; alongside hysterical reporting are thrilling or tragic music and crude, insensitive graphics; virtually everything is “breaking news” in no hierarchy of importance. Meanwhile, large corporations like ARY and the Lakson Group have acquired media companies after discovering that controlling media can protect their corporate interests.

Advertisers get huge influence over what’s published or aired. Advertising breaks are frequent, and banners for commercial products run incessantly. Advertising also dominates front pages: one major newspaper group recently gave front-page ads prominence over headlines on all of its papers.

Meanwhile, the government still seeks to control the media; Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority wants an existing law amended to permit “de-linking” of television channels from their satellites if they broadcast “objectionable” or “unwanted” material.

While many in the media retain editorial integrity in the face of these pressures, Pakistani media houses have yet to come up with an industrywide code of conduct or self-regulatory body. Nor have they been able to stay unbiased. Often they blatantly take sides in political conflicts, even while describing themselves as protectors only of the public good.

So, what is the way forward? Ensuring the safety and security of Pakistani journalists is the best starting point; the industry’s foot soldiers need more training, as well as job tenure and pensions. Forming unions is another necessity, as well as creating a framework of regulation that offers protection against state and corporate pressure.

But what Pakistan’s media needs most is a unified sense of its own professional conscience, so that it can continue to thrive as it fulfills its ultimate duty to Pakistanis: to report the news free from bias and influence, while telling a good story that will catch citizens’ attention.

Riaz Haq said...

‘#Pakistan’s #advertisement market is worth Rs65b’ with annual growth of 10-12pc’ via @ePakistanToday #Media #TV

Pakistan’s total advertisement budget has exceeded Rs65 billion in the last few years with a growth of 10 to 12 percent annually. As much as Rs45 billion goes to TV, while Rs17 billion are spent on print media, said Fouad Hussain, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GroupM, the biggest ad buying house of the country.

“The total billings of the television and print media ads through GroupM are around Rs19 billion, which is over a quarter of the total advertisement budget of the country,” Hussain told Pakistan Today in an exclusive interview.

Hussain has a 17-year experience in the media industry and has been working with brands and media vendors in various roles of brand marketing, research, channel sales, content, strategic communication, media planning and ad buying.

He said most of the TV channels in Pakistan are relying on mobile companies and new brands of mobiles, which are spending billions of rupees on Television ads. Brands like Unilever, Engro Foods and local and foreign banks are slowly shifting to TV from print media, he said.

Hussain, however, said the cash flow management in TV channels and print media is a problem.

“I will not name any channel or media house, but many of the owners have other businesses and use media industry funds on their other businesses which causes delay or late payments of salaries to their employees,” Hussain told Pakistan Today.

He said that there could be some other problems like late clearance of the bills, but the other businesses of the owners of media houses are the main reason for cash flow problems.

The GroupM CEO said the size of the print media ad budget has also been increasing during the last five to 10 years. He said the brands have been increasing their print media budget overtime. He said the newspapers have also increased the cost of advertisement per centimeter.

“If a newspaper was charging Rs10,000 for an ad five years ago, it is now charging Rs100,000,” Hussain said, and added, “It is true that the TV industry has more of a bright future in the country compared to print media.” He said that the print media has been losing its share of the market because “unlike the TV industry, there is no new research work being done in the print media”.

Now, everyone knows which TV channel is more popular and in which city; and the advertisers also know where they need to focus. But it is hard to find out the same information for newspapers. No one knows which newspapers are being read and in which city or area.

“I will not say that the readerships of the newspapers are coming down, but it is hard to find out the exact figure.” He said the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) should conduct a survey of the newspapers’ readerships locally and area wise once every two or three years.

“We are a kind of advisors between advertisers and the media. We have to suggest to them where their market is,” Hussain said.

Replying to another question, he said the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC)’s figures are only for the government advertisements. It is a demand of the federal and provincial governments as they are supporting the TV channels and the print media through advertisements. The government spends Rs6-7 billion on advertisements in the media,” he said.

The ABC certification does not mean readership and it does not tell which area the newspaper is being read in, he said, and added that it is very difficult to find that out.

He said that the APNS should conduct a survey through a reputable institution like the TV industry.

“The owners of the print media have stopped investing in their writers and on journalism,” he said, adding “If they stop grooming writers, the standards of newspapers will decline. Earlier, this industry was considered important because the owners were spending on it.”