By: Rashid Sami

In a third world country like ours where monetary aspects in human lives reign over all other forms of livelihood, survival of honesty may be on its way to extinction. Privatization of the mini-screen in our country, has brought with it both positive and negative result to television and its viewers. Advertising is one aspect of privatization going through a new modus operandi and effect on the viewer and “tele-operation” in the country.

The first private television set-up in the country, NTM, brought with it a colourful image to our mini-screen. The formation of a new television channel gave birth tomorrow media system including private production houses, new talent and technical innovation. NTM not only provided a choice of programming to the viewer, it also offered and additional channel for private sector advertising on the mini screen. However, the fate of this channel is known to all. When PTV World started its operation, NTM was on its way out.

It is speculated that over 200 million rupees of advertising revenue remained unpaid. Innumerable private producers, artists and technical staff and other elements doing business with NTM, including the government exchequer, suffered a monetary loss. Personalities responsible for this “calamity” played their part, but the fact remains that nothing was done to recover the unpaid advertising revenue which advertisers own to NTM. Closure of one channel had no adverse effect on the advertiser as a new channel was ready to take their commercials, with no strings attached.

Unfortunately a similar situation is now making its way on to the mini screen, especially with reference to PTV World. The advertisers owe almost 200 million to the present operators, mainly Teleworld and Weekend World. The sponsors/advertisers attribute the delay in payments to the September 15 decline, for making payments to Central Board of Revenue (CBR) on account of the recently announced 15 percent General Sales Tax (GST). It must be mentioned that the credit time for payment allowed to the sponsor is between 45-90 days, whereas CBR has asked the GST payments to be made within 15 days of issuing the commercial release order. CBR on one hand insists on in-time payment and has legal actions in offing otherwise. But on the other hand it owes over 14 million to channel operators and private investors on existing channel on PTV.

Private investors and film producers also complain that some advertisers have started to show their preference for Channel 3 than PTV World or other investors on PTV network slots. This episode has now resulted in a chain of delayed payments and “bouncing” cheques. PTV authorities and RAMBO, the proposed regularity authority, should consider all these aspects to ensure transparency to the tele-operations in the country. Now coming to the programming on the mini-screen. Family Front after its 100th episode has gives a new treatment to the programme. The “family” has shifted to a new house and the direction and script has changed. It continues to be an entertaining slot to the viewer.

Omer Sharif has made his debut as an actor and script writer in Weekend World’ Purdah na uthao. This comedy serial is about two friends who come across interesting situations in their quest to become rich. Every episode not only offers funny situations but also offers a guest appearance from the filmi world. This serial which is directed Nadeem Baig and produced by Raashid Khawaja has a cast which includes Ayesha Sana, Zeba Shahnaz, Batin Farooqi, Jameel Fakhri, Gia Ali, Farah Shah and Nirma.

Yeh basti yeh log is making waves due to its good storyline and a very common subject. The script discusses problems concerning the common man, intelligently handled by Nusrat Thakur. Cast includes Shabbir Jan, Khayam Sarhadi, Mazhar Ali, Khatija Rehman and Javeria Jalil.

Teleworld is coming up with two new serial/series with two filmi personalities, Nadeem is reappearing in Chalte Chalte and Bushra Sharif is going to star in the comedy series Ab main hoen na.