Express 24/7 bows out amidst revenue drop

Published: November 29, 2011

CEO blames a dismal economic environment coupled with a lack of advertising support.

KARACHI: 

Pakistan’s only 24-hour English news channel, Express 24/7, part of the Express Media Group (of which The Express Tribune is a sister organisation) bowed out on Monday night after three years of transmission. CEO Sultan Lakhani in an e-mail to 24/7 staffers said that the decision had been taken as despite the company’s best efforts “we simply have not been able to make Express 24/7 self-sustaining from a financial and commercial standpoint.”

He blamed a dismal economic environment coupled with a lack of advertising support which resulted in dwindling revenues thereby making it financially untenable to continue airing the English language channel. “Unlike other countries where niche channels can survive and even prosper through subscription and where there are multiple distribution platforms such as DTH, in Pakistan niche channels are wholly dependent on advertising. This system works well for mass market channels like our sister channel Express News but does not work effectively for niche channels which cater to a smaller audience,” said Lakhani.

The CEO said that the company would try its best to retain as many employees as possible in other media ventures both in television and print. For those who cannot be accommodated, he said satisfactory severance packages commensurate with length of tenure had been earmarked.

In the preceding 3 years, Express 24/7 carved out a name for itself as a quality broadcaster that provided news and information about Pakistan to audiences around the world and at home, including a distinguished audience of diplomats and decision-makers. “I would like to thank all the staff, past and present, for their hard work in making the channel so well-known for its brand of unbiased and authentic content. It is to their credit that the channel was on-air and successful for long after competing channels gave up,” concluded Lakhani.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2011.

Reader Comments (80)

  • ARF
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:18AM

    Thats sad :(

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  • Credit
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:21AM

    Express 24/7, have no doubt that you will be missed.

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  • Shabbir
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:23AM

    So sad a news indeedRecommend

  • Khurram Mansoor
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:00AM

    So sad, we always aprpecaited express247 and enjoyed its programmes especially the travel segment.

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 10:05AM

    People who can understand English think that if they want to know the English perspective then switch to BBC or CNN rather than Pakistani English news channel, as Pakistani perspective can be easily available from Urdu news channels and also in regional news channels, this is unique thinking from the people of Pakistan unlike others like India etc where English news channels thrive.

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 10:05AM

    RIP. Dawnnews (English) must be saying ‘join the club.’

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  • Hameed
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:46AM

    If anything please retain Shaheryar Mirza, he’s an amazing asset for this news channel.

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  • Riz1
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:08AM

    Very unfortunate. Maybe all the Urdu news channels could come together and make a non-profit consortium to run an English news and view point channel in Pakistan. It is desperately needed. Express 24/7 was doing a great job. Honestly, now it is just a horde of Urdu news channels competing to be the first to break the news, while easily throwing journalistic ethics out the window.

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  • Lady
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:01PM

    Another one bites the dust.

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  • Rabayl
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:07PM

    Express should seriously consider opening a radio channel to compete with FM 89. There’s a dearth of good music for English speaking audiences in this country as well.

    Perhaps Shaheryar Mirza can be hired to run that :)

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  • Bud-Bud-Ding-Ding
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:21PM

    GE – Still born
    Dawn – Died an Infant
    24/7 – Died a toddler

    Our masses are uneducated… so this kind of market trend would be expected. What isnt to be expected is that a business GIANT who has the likes of Proctor and Gamble and Mc Donalds etc. under his sleeve would be wary about the availability of Ads. I think theres more to this than meets the eye.

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 12:24PM

    I never thought such a thing would EVER happen nor did I realize how much I love the channel. IT WAS THE BEST! The only news channel I would watch, complete with the travel and informative clips and information! A complete Package :’( Believe it or not I’m literally crying :’(. I hope in sha Allah it starts running again soon. I HOPE

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  • AJ
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:26PM

    It is sick more than unfortunate. Competition commission and labour laws must also apply on media organisations that throw their workers out middle of a night without any prior notice. Lakhanis could have had a better business sense. I am sure they will continue playing untouchables despite such inhumane business ethics

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  • zehra
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:39PM

    sad, i found it much better than geo or ary news even the express news was better,

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 12:41PM

    I wish it was Geo instead of express 24/7. Ayza Omer, Shehryar Mirza and Qatreena will be missed dearly.
    I wish you guys best of luck for all future endeavours :).

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  • smssr84
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:43PM

    awww thats sad!!!

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  • Zain Mughal
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:01PM

    So sad, “New-As it Happens” and now……..
    we will be missed Express 24/7.

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  • BigDude
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:23PM

    Good riddance.

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  • SadSmileyEmoticon
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:35PM

    This sucks, even though I don’t agree with some of the lot on their viewpoints, they are a talented bunch and some of them have really funny twitter feeds (re: Shahreyar Mirza). As a girl my advice to the unemployed girls would be: Time to buy a really expensive pair of shoes (to regret about later), stuff your face with paratha rolls and ice cream, watch a chick flick to feel even worse about yourself (if you aren’t already) and then have a good cry! A mandatory pity party helps and you’ll feel better tomorrow morning! I know you guys will do just fine.
    P.S. The above can work for boys too!

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  • arsalan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:57PM

    this was bound to happen , first dawn news and now express pakistani people have made it sure , that they will never hear or learn english , urdu gossip is what they want ,, its a shame

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  • Umer Farooq
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:03PM

    I will miss you always…

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  • Umer Farooq
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:06PM

    I wont ask for what, when, why, who, how…. but will miss you a lot..a lot..a lot :)

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  • Umer Farooq
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:11PM

    I will always remember…
    This is Umer Farooq..
    Reporting for Express 24/7
    Aorakzai Agency, Kohat, Mohmand Agency, Nowshera, Mardan, Hangu, Swat, Peshawar :)

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  • Osama Sarwar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:15PM

    It isn’t a loss of the organization. Maybe it is financially but the ‘niche’ market will suffer bigger. Express 24/7 was revealed as a blessing for those who could never get into the habit of reading newspapers or at least sharing a similar mindset as that of others. This connecting medium shouldn’t give up so soon.

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  • ZM
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:29PM

    Feels like a part of me has died…
    Strength and love to all who kept the channel alive and kicking throughout this time.

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  • clueless
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:41PM

    To be honest I didn’t even know this channel existed.

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 2:59PM

    We need something like USF for media sector as well.

    “Universal Service Fund (USF) was established by the Government of Pakistan (Ministry of Information Technology) to spread the benefits of the telecom revolution to all corners of Pakistan. USF promotes the development of telecommunication services in un-served and under-served areas throughout the length and breadth of the country.The establishment of USF was envisaged in Pakistan Telecom Act 1996/2000 according to which all licensed telecom operators contribute to this Fund. In order to utilize this fund for achievement of targets, Government of Pakistan decided to follow a “Public Private Partnership” Model.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UniversalServiceFund_Pakistan

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 3:10PM

    Very sad news, E247 was a great English channel.

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  • Mir Omar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:11PM

    The news is really sad for all those who have contributed in setting up and maintaining it for couple of years even after its main competitior failure on same reason of ROI , I think they can still thinkover and come with another strategy or business plan which doesnot depend on revenue on advertisement rather including some other stuff like other countrys english channels do .

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 3:12PM

    My suggestion to you would be to move away from TV, and go strictly online. Since you cater to a niche that is very fond of the internet, you can still work out. Start streaming live news and host web-based programming on your website, and start thinking like an online news network, as opposed to a typical TV channel.

    Not only can you get commercials this way, you can actually reduce most of your expenses. Sure, it isn’t as big as a TV network, but it can actually be bigger. Why not do some research into this?

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  • Iram
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:17PM

    I think it’s a caution decision, nonetheless it was a bold and determined attempt. All the best for future endeavors.

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  • AA
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:18PM

    For me Express news has always been very reliable source of information. The only thing which is not understandable is its approach to copy other channels/newspapers for example. Express Newspaper copied Jang when introduced. Express Urdu Channel’s logo is similar to Sky News. Express 24/7 was actually copying NDTV 24/7. Even this ET website gives a look of guardian.co.uk (not sure if my post will be published) any ways. Be you, you already have valueable content and professional working staff

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  • Nanggdharangg
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:42PM

    Very tragic indeed ! Super job Express 24/7 !!!

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  • Nov 29, 2011 - 3:47PM

    Sad, enjoyed watching news on it without the Bollywood music which is common on most of the news channel now. Maybe they should have it for few hours or so.

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  • antanu
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:58PM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed:
    Your logic has no logic..

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  • Bumbles
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:10PM

    How VERY unethical of the Lahkanis. Kicking out people in the middle of the night without any prior notice. Its shameful

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  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:12PM

    Tribune.com.pk needs to go as well

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  • Jawad Bt
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:19PM

    First Geo English, Second Dawn English and Now Express English… I have come to conclusion, People who understand English the most are the ones responsible for shutting down of these channels.. I hope some day people would understand this..

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  • ishaq
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:52PM

    Express 247 was the only NON MASALA News channel of Pakistan

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  • AA
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:01PM

    @Jawad Bt

    Why do we need to have English channels when we already have Urdu. You can’t survive if you present local news for local residents in their second language. It only make sense if you go for an international channel like Aljazeera and Press Tv.

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  • Omar Iftikhar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:02PM

    Express 24/7 had done great deal of effort but the truth is that Pakistan does not have enough English loving people. Even if there are English readers, the fact is they also need news in Urdu because of the sensation they get. Express 24/7 can use their staff of the news channel into Express Tribune and can make an effort in making their premier English language newspaper as the best in the country

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  • AA
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:04PM

    @syedarbabahmed

    ???

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  • Truth Teller
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:25PM

    It’s a sad day in the history of journalism since now it will be airing nothing else except useless talk shoes from Urdu channels. I wish Express would have survived! I loved it & will be missed dearly. RIP

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  • Akthar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:43PM

    Sad Really Sad.. :( Our neighbours have NDTV & IBN Live & TimesNow TV Channels which are really thriving.. Unfortunate that in our country, the best english news channel couldn`t make it..

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  • R.Khan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:54PM

    Surely a sad day!

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  • Taimur
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:52PM

    Extremely Horrible news for me

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  • Ex
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:15PM

    What happened CIA funding not enough ???? Next this website too will face bankruptcy

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  • Malik
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:36PM

    First Geo English (X), then DawnNews (X) and now Express 24/7 (X), english channels are very important for educational reasons..Bring these three channels back!!

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  • unknown
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:03PM

    they should do some english programming on express news

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  • Pundit
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:33PM

    Good Riddance, now close this newspaper too!

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  • Javed
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:47PM

    Thats horrible. I think Express 24.7 was ahead of its time. Lack of internet penetration in Pakistan combined with the fact not everyone speaks English really hurt its chances.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiquiu
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:14PM

    The majority of the Pakistanis only understand Urdu language which is also our national language.

    It was evident right from the very beginning that there were very fewer viewers of English TV Channel.

    The managements of the English TV Channels already knew that circulation of Urdu News Papers was far ahead from the English News Papers in Pakistan, then why the managements of English TV Channels took the decision to launch the English TV Channels?

    Even if the BBC or CNN would like to operate their respective TV Channels in Pakistan they have to launch in Urdu and not as English News Channels.

    I was amazed that how come Express 24/7 English TV News Channel was surviving after Dawn English TV News Channel joined the club of Urdu TV News Channels?

    Anyway, I feel sorry for all those employees who will be retrenched due to change in policy just because the Express 24/7 English TV Channel could not earn proper revenues to run the show.

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  • Ans----
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:07AM

    I will miss you always…

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  • MediaMogul
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:21AM

    Sad but a practical decision. It has to happen. Media planners have no choice but to focus the budgets on mass media since they are ROI driven. Small pockets of audience no matter how important are often over-looked. That’s the price we pay.
    Advertisers are to be solely blamed. Reduced rates per minute, limited or no spending on non-mass media and no proper support in terms of media research and viewership habits (limited reach and focus on general audience profiles).

    We as a nation are condemned to mediocrity. Sad, but true.

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  • Kaiserlautern
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:30AM

    When is Tribune running out of Revenue? waiting for that day.

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  • bangash
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:41AM

    why was an English language channel opened in a country like Pakistan where very small percentage of population speaks English ?

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  • Media Guru
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:33AM

    Sad.
    lack of market grip ! Be careful with entertainment and radio.Recommend

  • Bilal Jahanzeb
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:28AM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed:
    What a vague point you just made. You would be surprise to see how many people would rather watch 24/7 than BBC and CNN.Recommend

  • Nasir
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:38AM

    Very unfortunate, will miss the 24/7

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 1:21PM

    good, i am glad

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  • D C Bhardwaj
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:08PM

    It is very sad for people of Pak, in India there are 10 english news channels.

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  • Fayeza
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:01PM

    Really its too bad..Pakistan had the only English Channel but now it has been ended which is quite distressing news..Im gonna miss Sheharyar Rana the best Anchor ever

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  • Lord
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:58PM

    i will miss adorable huma amir shah and elegant news anchors.:(

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 6:06PM

    RIP Express 24/7, the onyl English TV channel of Pakistan. I was very disappointed when Dawn converted it’s transmission in Urdu, not another sad news!

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  • Thinker
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:12PM

    The only English channel is gone..now they have also banned BBC,CNN,FOX..etc and all other international english channels! Looks like the establishment doesnt want sane voices to be heard! :(

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  • Jawad BT
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:00PM

    After observing closely the working of Media in Pakistan it feels like there is no respect for them as an Employee..and its all because of 10 known mistakes made by Media Managers..
    1-Fail to get to know employees as people..
    2-Fail to provide clear direction:
    3-Fail to trust:
    4- Fail to listen to and help employees feel that their opinions are valued..
    5-Make decisions and then ask people for their input..
    6-Fail to react to problems and issues that will soon fester if ignored. ..
    7-Trying to be friends with employees who report to you…
    8-Fail to communicate effectively and withhold important information…
    9-Not treating all employees equally…
    and last and not the least..
    10-Throw employees under the bus…
    So think twice before joining Media in Pakistan.. if u cannot keep everyone Happy and in business at the same time..

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  • media man....
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:09PM

    @Jawad BT: i m agree with u plz do something more about this cause .

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 9:29PM

    Vienna,November 30,2011
    I do hope there is Urdu Express 7X27 still running and would
    run.English edition can be reserved only for subscribers as digest.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • Anjum
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:54PM

    The best online channel for me to get updated about Pakistan. Im willing to pay an online fee. Is the niche group too small being able to contribute enough along with sponsors?

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  • Ali J
    Dec 1, 2011 - 1:17AM

    I guess, the channel couldn’t get enough funding from the Western news conglomerates and governments… These people would much rather spread their propaganda through channels that the majority of the people can understand.. tribune Express, and 24/7 published most of the news from Reuters, AFP, AP anyway and never ever published alternative views from unbiased sources. Besides that advice for Express News, Please stop getting pages filled by amateur ‘opinion-makers’, shallow, wanna-be, inexperienced writers, who in their minds think of themselves to have understood everything and somehow are all knowing because they practiced day in and day out to ‘try’ to sound like educated via British or American english show-offs with many mistakes.. Dawn is no good either.. Bye-Bye… :)

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  • Khan
    Dec 1, 2011 - 7:09AM

    @Hu Jintao:
    Your suggestion regarding Tribune is good and bad at same time … Good because we won’t have to read comments of people who thinks like you do … Bad because sadly even our so called educated people are not different than those right wing politicians of JI et al but again we only test their memories by asking them to memorize syllabus to give them degrees not their creativity.
    To all such Ostriches I would suggest washing their faces instead of breaking mirrors.

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  • Khan
    Dec 1, 2011 - 7:13AM

    @Ex:
    Have some shame please … thousand of Pakistanis have lost their livelihood and you are making fun out of this sad news. I wonder were you working for this channel, would you doubt your patriotism too only because an organization ‘might’ have received funds? But then our whole country is run by American Funds so doesn’t that make us all 180 million CIA agents?

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  • inam ahmad
    Dec 1, 2011 - 12:49PM

    ohh -:( very sad news…

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  • Dec 1, 2011 - 1:22PM

    Sad to know that such a great channel bOwed out. It is great loss for us because there was only one English news channel that was in direct competition with foreign news channel from Pakistan. I love Express 24/7 team & I’ll always miss it.

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  • Jawad Bt
    Dec 1, 2011 - 1:39PM

    I have read a lot of our friends showed reservations for an English Channel being run in Pakistan.. I think they don’t have any Idea that anything that is On Aired on an international channel would present there biased opinions about Pakistan.. So in order to be with in the global communication system of NEWS network we need to have at least two English channels.. Do you think the rest of the world understands Urdu at any platform of information.. English Channels just dont serve us but is a form of putting your information for those who what to seek truth from Pakistan.. Every country has News network in there local languages and as well as in English.. Iran has it although they have been a lot biased of the foreign media coverages.. And these channels have earned so much from Pakistan, why cannot they serve this country by going loss in one Channel.. A Conclusion to this would only hurt a lot of Media owners..

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  • Mohammad
    Dec 7, 2011 - 10:48AM

    Ick ick ick!!! “Sorry, we are shutting down the channel. You guys gotta go home.” Is this what you told to everyone who worked there for three years? These media owners gotta grow up. You cannot sent people home like that.

    MKH

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  • Ali
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:12PM

    So ends one of the most dreadful experiments in the history of mankind.little comfort for the now laid off employees

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  • ali
    Dec 14, 2011 - 3:52PM

    I m realy sad about this
    , i found it much better than geo or ary news even the express news was better,

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  • ali
    Dec 14, 2011 - 6:45PM

    i m really
    sad, i found it much better than geo or ary news even the express news was better,

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  • sml
    Dec 28, 2011 - 9:59AM

    a good source of improving english and proper news is lost

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