Cross Currents and ARY awarded DTH licences -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Cross Currents and ARY awarded DTH licences

ISLAMABAD (October 22 2003): Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Tuesday awarded two licences for the most advanced and latest technology of Direct To Home (DTH), satellite-based television channels to Cross Currents (Pvt) Limited being the highest bidder followed by ARY Communications after matching its bid with the highest bid through an open and transparent bidding process.

Pemra Chairman Mian Mohammad Javed, Member Saleem Gul and representatives of a number of media channels, including Shakeelur Rehman of Geo TV and Mohammad Iqbal from ARY Communications, were present on the occasion of opening of bids here at the Pemra Headquarters.

The Cross Currents (Pvt) Limited offered the maximum bid of Rs 250 million while the ARY Communications quoted Rs 192.500 million, but under the rules, the ARY matched the highest bid of Rs 250 million and qualified for first two DTH channels rights in Pakistan.

Pemra Chairman Mian Mohammad Javed while congratulating the successful bidders said DTH would bring a revolution in the country with maximum possible expansion of TV viewers.

He said cable network was available for only four million houses, while the PTV could reach about 65 percent of the area, whereas the DTH would reach every nook and corner of the country.He said the latest technology of DTH would provide a chance to every individual living even in remote areas of mountainous regions and vast plain fields to enjoy TV transmissions without any trouble in accordance with the purely national and Islamic ethics and norms.

Mian Javed said awarding two licences of modern and high-tech technology of DTH, Pemra has provided a base to the country to bring communication revolution. He said these licences were being given in accordance with the liberal media policy of the government to encourage the private sector to play their due role in educating and creating awareness among the masses, while using this latest technology.

The Pemra chairman said the successful bidders would be able to make a bouquet of 50 to 250 channels approved by Pemra under its code of ethics so that the whole family could watch these channels without any hesitation.

Explaining the bidding process, he said, it was open and transparent and authority received 11 applications out of which one was rejected during the process of pre-qualification, while out of the remaining 10 four companies participated in the bidding, which were opened in the presence of all the bidders on Tuesday.

The two highest bidders, Cross Currents and ARY Communications would be awarded licences to operate DTH channels after the formal approval by the authority within a couple of days and they would be able to start functioning soon.Crescent Business Management Limited offered the bid of Rs 186.66 million while Sachal Satellite Communication quoted Rs 70.33 million.

Under this DTH technology anyone can tune in a large number of national and international channels by installation of small dish of 1-1.5 feet. The transmission through this technology will be crystal clear and without any interruption owing to weather and electricity failure. The cost of setting up a DTH system will be approximately Rs 3 billion.

Mian Mohammad Javed said that the private sector through the help of DTH would be able to play an important role in the country’s economy, development and improvement, especially in the field of media.He said the authority, which was established last year, has successfully awarded licences through open bidding for private TV channels, adding that in the next coming weeks, the authority would introduce more modern and new technology for the private sector.

The Pemra chairman said DTH has the potential to reach to 145 million population. He said successful bidders would be major players in promoting good performance, as there was no limit in DTH.He said the DTH would also cover many neighboring countries taking advantage of the satellite.Mian Javed said the government was sincere and keen to promote electronic media and to ensure its freedom.

He said Pakistan was being pieced among those countries where the media, especially the electronic media, has been enjoying freedom. He hoped that the electronic media would be in a position to create awareness among the masses about education, health, development and other subjects. He said the authority would ensure implementation of code of ethics for all channel operators, including DTH.Referring to the importance of DTH, he said, the authority has conducted its survey and found that the DTH was a feasible project.

The Pemra chairman said awarding licences of DTH was a milestone in Pakistan’s economic history and it was a major development.Hassan Mustafa, representative of Cross Current (Pvt) Limited, one of the successful and highest bidders, while giving his remarks appreciated the policies of President Musharraf to provide liberal policies for media. He also highlighted the efforts of Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali for continuation of these policies for the benefit and promotion of media, especially the electronic media. He also appreciated the role of the authority in promoting the electronic media and hoped that their co-operation would improve the electronic media.

He said DTH service would be available every where without any problem and any one living in any city, village, town or area would be able to receive the signals through this system. He said through DTH the whole of Pakistan and a number of neighboring countries would be able to enjoy TV transmission and could watch the channels of their own choice. Mohammad Iqbal, owner of ARY Communications, while appreciating the role of Pemra said the DTH system would provide quality programmes according to the rules and regulations based on the ethics of the authority so that all the members of the family could watch these programmes together.

He said it would increase the base of TV viewer ship and would provide a chance to the viewers even in remote areas to watch the programmes of their own choice. The DTH system, he said, would bring a revolution in the field of electronic media by providing a chance to every individual to have access to TV. He said it would also increase job opportunities along with the business. He said it was successfully functioning in Europe and would also be a successful technology in Pakistan.

Source: Business recorder