Television in Pakistan

Television in Pakistan started in 1964, and the first live transmission of Pakistan Television began on November 26, 1964, in Lahore.[1]


Originally a private sector project in 1961 by prominent industrialist Syed Wajjid Ali who signed a joint venture agreement with Nipon Electric Company (NEC), leading Pakistani engineer Ubaidur Rahman was appointed by Wajjid Ali to head the television project. By 1962, after a series of pilot transmission tests, the project was quickly taken over by the Ayub Khan Government in 1963 for the "greater national interest of Pakistan". President Ayub Khan re-appointed Ubaidur Rahman in 1963 under the Ministry of Information to continue with the NEC joint venture collaboration to launch Pakistan Television or PTV. The project began with a tent on the back lot of Radio Pakistan Lahore where a transmission tower and a studio were constructed. On November 26, 1964 the first official television station commenced transmission broadcasts from LAHORE,[1] followed by Dhaka in 1965 (then the capital of East Pakistan). A third centre was established in Rawalpindi-Islamabad in 1965 and the fourth in Karachi in 1966. Later centres in Peshawar and Quetta were established by 1974. Originally broadcast in black and white, PTV began colour transmission in 1976.[2] With this new upgrade in techniques and equipment, the Pakistan Television Academy was founded and opened in 1987 to teach students who wished to work in the medium. As with the other agreement, the government financed most of the funds while the private venture capitalists offered to fund the remainder. Late 1980s morning transmission started on PTV.

In 1988, the then government launched the first semi government TV network of the country by the name of "Peoples Television Network (PTN)under the umbrella of Shalimar Recording Company (which is Shalimar Recording and Broadcasting Company now). PTN was later renamed as Shalimar Television Network (STN). STN started from Islamabad first and then from Karachi, Lahore and by mid-1990s the network made its way to the whole of the country. STN for the first time in Pakistan started the transmission of CNN International on the terrestrial beam, this was the first project of STN. Later on BBC World also became a part of STN's channel bouquet. In 1990 STN under an agreement with the a private company (Interflow) started first ever private TV channel of Pakistan, Network Television Marketing (NTM), in this way by 1990 STN's broadcast became the combination of CNN, BBC, DW TV (which joined the gang in mid 1990s) and NTM. This successfully continued till 1999. NTM came as a breathe of fresh air to the Pakistani viewers due to its fresh and innovative programmings.

PTV Network launched a full-scale satellite broadcasting service in 1991-1992. PTV-2, the first ever satellite channel of Pakistan started in 1992, later on PTV-1 also joined the satellite channel along with PTV 2. PTV 2 was renamed as PTV World in 1998. PTV-2/World also enjoyed viewership on terrestrial beam. In 1998 PTV in association with a private company (Prime Entertainment Network) started PTV Prime exclusively for European and later for American viewers. Digital TV satellite broadcasting was launched in 1999. PTV got its satellite beam (independent of PTV 2)in 2001.

NTM went off air in 1999 due to financial losses and with that STN also shut down CNN Intn'l, BBC World and DW TV in 1999. PTV and STN started Channel-3 as a joint venture in 1999 which started its transmissions on regular basis in 2001. A satellite beam of Channel-3 was also arranged.

In 2002, the then government of Pakistan opened up new ways for the media industry of Pakistan by allowing private TV channels to operate openly even to telecast their own news and current affairs content. Prior to that the only private TV channel of the country NTM was not allowed to transmit its own news and current affairs programmings. Indus Vision (first ever private satellite channel of Pakistan). ARY Digital, Geo, Hum, and the phenomenon went on & on.

In 2005 Channel-3 went off air and with that Shalimar Recording and Broadcasting Company again renamed its TV network as ATV Network (a joint venture of Shalimar Rec. & Broadcast. Co. & SSI) and ATV started its transmission as the only semi-private TV channel of Pakistan being shown on terrestrial as well as satellite beam. In 2007, PTV or PTV-1 was given a new name PTV Home and PTV World went off air (PTV World restarted in 2012-13 as the only English language/pure satellite channel of Pakistan). PTV News started in 2007. PTV Home, PTV News (both state owned) and ATV (semi private) channels are shown on terrestrial beams along with the satellite beam. While recently started PTV Sports becomes available on terrestrial beams only during the important national and international sports events. PTV Prime went out of PTV's purview in 2005 as an independent Prime TV and PTV launched an exclusive channel for Americas & Europe in 2006 i.e. PTV Global.

Concerns about the rise in influx of foreign channels

Many Pakistani television audience and artists have raised concerns about the increase of foreign channels into local television, particularly India and the Middle East. Many local Pakistani journalists have termed it a cultural invasion of the country as well as a threat to business for local artists.[3][4]

Leading awards shows for TV industry

See also


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