During the past few years, a number of new TV channels have emerged in Pakistan catering to different kinds of viewership. Through these channels plenty of employment opportunities have mounted in different areas related to the electronic media. Stake holders of the electronic media have earned billions of rupees and new highways have opened for businesses in this industry.
An essential component of electronic media is providing the equipment to these channels at the back end. System Integration (SI) companies provide equipment to these TV channels. InPakistan, there are more than 50 brands which are represented by a limited number of companies. Pakistan Television (PTV) had its own engineering team at the backend with its own consultants. There were very few solution providers to TV stations who not only supplied equipment but configured the whole package of setting up a TV station.
When the private channels came into the media scene, they wanted the equipment along with the proficiency on the design solutions. Providers were fully trained from setting up the equipment to its final configuration.
At times two components of two different companies are installed in the same device which needs a proper setting to function it. For this purpose, the suppliers should have all the know-how of the equipment.
2003 started the trend to provide complete solution to the channels. Before there were just the purchases of the camera, recorders, stands, Mikes, encoder and other equipment from the suppliers. Now, companies like Channel Tek have specialized in setting up the structure of a TV station along with the equipment.
Due to the rapid emergence of the television channels this business has gained potential but requires a lot of investment. The biggest solution provider to TV channels these days is Channel Tek Company owned by Mr. Hasan Naem. There are other providers but not on a large scale. There are 50 local channels inPakistan. As compared to other countries the market is still in its initial phases. Normally the cable operators provide 70 to 80 channels to viewers. It is difficult for cable operators to accommodate new local channels inPakistanbecause they have to show international channels as well. The TV channel business might have hit the saturation point, as 97 is the highest number of channels shown on cable, which is being provided by world call.
If an organization wants to launch a new TV channel, it will be difficult to break into the cable industry. Deals with cable operators are made in order to position their respective channels in their cables to reach the end customer. Cable operators are asking billions to broadcast the channels. Moreover they also charge for better level or positions of the channels.
Another problem for new channels is the advertising revenue because the companies that advertise in TV channels have more or less same budgets to spend in the advertising, but on the other hand if the numbers of channels are increasing, they are going to share the same advertising budgets and each share will be lowered for each channel.
The device which reads the viewer ship of each channel is not on an advance level inPakistan. It becomes difficult to have facts and figures on channel viewership e.g. which channel is being watched more as compared to other channels.
The day to day requirements of the existing channels for the equipment and services also increase. A TV channel usually increases its hardware with the passage of time. This process might be slow but is there even on a low percentage. These days the popular and widely watched channels require proper solutions and backup for their equipment and Channel Tek is providing solutions to almost all the major channels.
Channel Tek has a workforce of 200 to provide state of the art solutions to TV channels. Some channels also have a team of their own engineers so at times they prefer to purchase only the equipment.
The equipment provided by Channel Tek and other suppliers are all bought from the manufacturing countries or global regional distributors representing various brands. It’s compulsory for suppliers to get a proper dealership from the manufacturing companies like Sony, Samsung etc, in order to buy the latest equipment. One cannot procure some of the products without training. A backup lab for services is necessary to fulfill the criteria of getting the distribution license of some of the products. Integration personal is needed who can integrate and configure this equipment and for that, one should have proper training to install the device.
According to the new laws of PEMRA, the buyer is responsible for the transmission equipment and not the distributor. Distributor, supplier or any third party has to tell PEMRA by following the legal procedures that this transmission equipment is for which channel and then that channel has to have transmission license also. The import of transmission equipment has become difficult for small channels because of strict policies of PEMRA. Other small equipment is being purchased by the distributors on their own behalf. They have stocks of different items depending on the demand of products.
If a new entrepreneur wants to invest in this business, it will be difficult to start as a System Integration company or even a distributor because first the entrepreneur has to have a name in the market so that manufacturing companies can give distribution rights. Companies like Samsung and LG and many others; all of them want a trusted company to represent their brands. Getting a distribution license easily from these companies without having repute in the market is a difficult task. One should have equity of around 10 crores to start this business. Moreover you should have complete market information about buying and selling procedures. Research should be done on the type of customers, what the demand is and what other competitors are already in the market. On the other hand there are also small corporations or parties who are providing some specific products like mikes, wires and some only satellite dishes. Business can be started on a small scale. Almost all of the equipment is imported from other countries. The devaluation of rupee against dollar also influences businessmen in this industry.
The equipment used inPakistanis not on the same level which is being issued in channels abroad. The cameras, tape and all system is on DVCAM technology here, it is usually on a 25 mbps format. However, in the international media they used 50mbps or 80 mbps with a different technology. DVCAM is a specific technology standard invented for news channels. It might not be up to the mark quality but in news channels quality content is more important then quality. For the art and entertainment side, good quality like DG BETA is required which runs on 80 to 100 mbps.
In Pakistan all the channels including the entertainment channels are using DVCAM technology because the work team only knows this technology; hence the quality standards of Pakistani channels are poor as compared to international channels.
Broadcasting industry or electronic media inPakistanhas grown rapidly in the last couple of years. There is still potential in this system integration business inPakistanbut from the channels point of view, there will be some acquisitions in the near future. There is still an untapped area of graphic solutions to explore.
This is an integrated field; it requires a lot of equipment and trained Human Resource. The trained Human Resource for this industry is limited. Trained employees easily shift from one channel to another channel easily, as they are already in a limited number. Another requirement is of training programs for the work force, who deal with the equipment of TV channel sitting the back end.