Satellite TV services pushing cable out

The popularity of Dish TV and other direct-to-home services has surged in the wake of a ban on Indian channels.


Yasir Habib September 27, 2010
Satellite TV services pushing cable out

LAHORE: The popularity of Dish TV and other direct-to-home services has surged in the wake of a ban on the airing of Indian TV channels on cable.

PEMRA, in compliance with a Supreme Court judgment, clamped the ban in August. Several cable operators started airing the banned channels with different names. PEMRA took notice and penalised some, but has failed to make the enforcement effective.

The ban has been a boon for some electronics traders whose stocks of Dish TV (and other direct-to-home equipment) are fast running out.

The sale of Indian Satellite TVs has increased by 30 to 35 per cent after the ban, Basit Jahangir, a salesperson at an electronics shop, said. “I have sold more than 200 satellite TV receivers in 20 days.”

Jabbar Ahmad Khan, the Cable Operators’ Association Pakistan (CAP) central president, said that cable operators were fast losing subscriptions following the ban. He worried that the surge in the sale of satellite TV services will further damage their business

Dish TV and Tata Sky, two most popular satellite services in the city markets, provide more than 200 Indian channels.

Dish TV is available at Rs6,500 to Rs7,500, with monthly subscription charges of Rs600 and installation charges from Rs400 to Rs700. It provides more than 200 channels, including the ones banned by PEMRA.

Tata Sky is available at Rs8,900 to Rs9,500 with Rs500 per month subscription fee.

“The first thing customers entering our shops ask is whether Dish TV and Tata Sky will provide access to the banned Indian channels,” says Mirza Saeed, a shopkeeper at Hall Road.

He said that most customers first take a round of the market to survey the available satellite services. “Only when they’re sure about the exact number of Indian channels and whether it’ll provide access to Star Plus do they make a purchase.” He said that most viewers were ready to pay the additional monthly costs to watch these channels.

Roshan Khan, a shopper, said that he was not fond of the banned channels but his wife and two daughters had been pushing him for days to buy a satellite TV service. “They are addicted to Indian channels and can no longer think about life without them,” he said. “What else can they do,” he continued, “with no place safe to go for recreation outdoors, their only source of entertainment is television.”

Kamran Faisal, another shopkeeper, said that the surge in the sale of satellite TV services reminded him of the time when General Musharraf imposed a ban on private TV channels in 2007. He said that it was the first time after Musharraf’s ban that satellite TV services had become so popular among people.

“These channels cater to a diverse clientele. It’s not just soap operas that are driving people to buy satellite services. These channels offer so much more, reality shows, music programmes and current affairs shows are among some of the most popular programmes these days.

The banned Indian channels include Star Plus, Star News, Star Movies, Star One, Sahara One, Sony TV, B4U Music, Zee Music, Zee News, Zee Cinema and IBN News.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2010.

COMMENTS (4)

Aamir | 13 years ago | Reply A very good step by the courts ... These stupid channels which make no sence to our culture should be banned...i wonder whats wrong with pak entertainment channels which make much more sence to me are not viewed by the star plus crazy public...
Jeddy | 13 years ago | Reply This is bound to happen when the rulers of the country refuse to listen to the people
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