Satellite channel Urdu Television Network (UTN) launched -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Satellite channel Urdu Television Network (UTN) launched

KARACHI- The launch of Urdu Television Network (UTN) new satellite “entertainment channel” was announced by Khalid Bhaimia, Chairman UTN, at a press conference.

Based in Sharjah, UAE, the channel will be the first 24 hour purely entertainment oriented global Urdu satellite TV Channel to provide high quality plays, drama serials, music, chat and game shows, quiz programmes, mushairas etc. All in Urdu language, Mr Khalid told newsmen.

Flanked by Nazli Shahabuddin, Chief Executive Officer and a prominent architect Nayyar Ali Dada. Director UTN Khalid Bhaimia made it clear that from the very beginning UTN will not (Not) be offering news, current affairs or any other political broadcast nor cater to a particular view point. “UTN is a multi-national channel not confine to the perspective or boundary of any one country. It is a celebration of ‘the cultural values’ enshrined in the Urdu language,” Khalid said adding that the family as a whole can watch all programs that will shown on UTN together.

He said in the highly competative satellite TV marketplace. UTN will be competing with Hindi channels like Zee, Sony, Star, B4U, Sahara etc. and state owned channels like PTV, Doordarshan for viewers and advertising revenues.

In the current phase, he informed, UTN will be aired on Asiasat 2 from Singapore covering over 50 countries and more than 200 million Urdu lovers from Saudi Arabia to Australia including. Pakistan and India.

He explained that UTN will broadcast in the analogue mode and viewers can watch the channel for free without changing their existing decoders. He said UTN will be officially launched in the coming three months. The soft launch of the channel will be held in July.

When asked why Sharjah was chosen for the project instead of Pakistan, Khalid Bhaimia said, UTN is a private company based in Sharjah and the location has been purposely chosen as it is a central point having a multinational environment and is close to the bulk of the target audience, programme suppliers and advertisers. Besides, communication is much easier there.

However, Nazli told it questioner that 80 percent of programming will come from Pakistan and rest front India, Dubai and London. “We firmly believe that there is lot of performing talent in the region but only a small part of it gets recognised. Many such talented artists do not have the medium to further progress and display their talent to a wider audience”, Khalid said.

To various questions about the project’s financial viability, Khalid Bhaimia said financial closing has been done and all financial commitments in raising the infrastructure fully met. He denied any Saudi backing to the project.

He said initially UTN will have 2 hours of original programming. This will give us an opportunity to bring to our global audience classic urdu programs and honour acclaimed actors, directors and performers who did not have the opportunity to expose their talent to global audience in the past. He explained the plans to increase original programming to eight hours as the producers respond to UTN’s viewers and demands.

Source: The Nation
Date:5/30/2000