By: Rashid Sami

Television in the country in the last decade, has definitely met the definition of the little magic box. Introduction of the news channel, CNN and then the “dish-full” of foreign television programmes have transformed the mini-screen into something larger than just another entertainment medium.

In our part of the country the media guids have distributed the television viewers int two categories, urban and rural. One rarely finds this anywhere else in the globe.

Starting with one channel PTV (Now PTV-1) it was followed by the first private television network by the name of NTM in the eighties. In the last ninety’s PTV-2 was renamed PTV World and airtime sold to interested private investors. Privatization brought with it its good and bad points. There was strong criticism by a section of viewers on the contents of television programmes, and their ethical values, attire and the mannerisms were labeled as “improved”. PTV World from the word go was expected to become the tool in the media wars. Television revenues which were supposed to increase, declined owing to the discounts that the existing investors offered directly to the sponsors. Whereas advertising revenues multiplied almost five times in five years, across the border. The investors prefer glamorous drama in an in-depth television production shot locally.

It is the professionalism that needs to be understood and implemented. RAMBO, the regulatory board, if formed should keep in mind all the aspects of the media scene. Foreign investment realizes that there is not much in the already “exhausted” market. Then there is an increasing number of “middlemen” the software marketing firms, ready the procure thus blocking both creativity and the software.

New there is a “third option” whch is being designed for the viewers and sponsors alike.  Channel-3, in place of NTM, is expected to launch its operations in July-August. There are almost thirty business groups who have showed their interest in the channel, compared to less than six at the time of the launching of PTV World. There was major software procurement exercise in the market and most probably for the first time in the history of private television production in the country, private producers put the sign “sold” to the buyers. One expects that the media-masters in Islamabad would ensure everything possible to offer clean and healthy operations on the third channel.

Now coming to the drama of the week Convas, conceived and produced by actor/director Humayun Naz promises to be a turning point in the local drama production. Shot in the UAE and Pakistan the serial is based on an Arabian myth of falcon and snake depicting good and evil. What distinguished the drama from other productions is the basic idea and the use of special graphic/computer effects shot at the Axiom. Graphical effects which are being used for the first time on a Pakistani production, took ten month of intense effort by the producer and graphic designer. The production team term them selves as “lucky” while describing the selection and use of the location.