PTV to launch English channel next month
By: Saadia Qamar
KARACHI: Pakistan’s state television, PTV, is poised to venture into new territory as it announced on Thursday that it will launch a new PTV English Channel by January 10, 2013.
PTV’s Managing Director Yousuf Baig Mirza, who flew in from Islamabad to speak with journalists in Karachi, informed a packed conference room at the PTV Karachi Station that their latest initiative would be on air between January 7 and 10 next year.
The PTV English Channel comes with a capital investment of Rs300 million, and is being supplemented with the revenue generated by the PTV Sports channel.
Baig said, “Initially we thought of launching it by December 25, 2012, keeping in mind Jinnah’s birth anniversary. However, we believe that most of the diplomatic corps will not be in town; hence we delayed it till January.” However, Baig contended, “No doubt it is a difficult initiative. We are aware that it won’t be commercially viable, given that two private English channels closed down. This is a challenge in itself.
“You may see it as PTV’s strength or weakness, but I am calling it a strength. With our channel, which is truly a national broadcaster, we plan to share and give news and entertainment to the foreigner base in the country,” he said.
“I believe a window should be made available to the foreigners to see for themselves [what Pakistan really is].” According to the managing director, currently no government support on the financial front was being given but “there could be a possibility of finding support from the government in the future.”
Commenting on the challenges the new venture will face, Baig said: “This is a commercially challenging project with human resource that is very limited.” But he was of the view that, “We have a large target audience of not only foreigners who are living in the country but even diplomats and younger generation of Pakistanis, who have some know-how of the English language.”
Later, while talking to The Express Tribune, he said, “It took six months to launch this channel. It’s going to show news, entertainment and current affairs programmes. We even have plans to translate our own PTV classic plays into English. The first one you would see on screen would be ‘Jinnah say Quaid Tak’