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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Fawad Chaudhry announces Pakistan’s own Netflix: Will it be a hit?

Fawad Chaudhary, has announced that Pakistan will be creating its own 'Netflix-like' platform very soon. The platform will be Pakistan's first OTT platform

The Ministry of Science and Technology at Pakistan has announced its initiative to create a Pakistani version of Netflix, i.e., Pakistan’s first OTT platform. Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s former minister of Science and Technology, announced that all technological regularities were in place via tweet. PEMRA is now being asked to prepare a guideline on the content before its launch in the ‘PPP’ mode.

How popular is the original Netflix in Pakistan

Before Netflix’s formal introduction in Pakistan, perhaps the most popular media entertainment for Pakistanis was the episodical average drama serial. Lollywood movies aside, many Pakistani views held these dramas in high regard, and for a good cause. In fact, the Pakistani entertainment sector has produced some of the best content in its drama serials.

In came Netflix, and the focus shifted almost automatically from drama serials to on-demand seasons. With its wide range of international television shows, including Pakistani movies and dramas, Netflix successfully stole the spotlight in close to no time.

The potential success of a Pakistani Netflix

Initially, of course, some were wary of spending on a Netflix subscription. Others preferred to stick to the torrents. Some highlighted Pakistan’s problematic ISPs, and others criticized Pakistani credit cards for their credibility. Above all, a fair number stipulated that Netflix, much like its social media counterparts such as YouTube, would soon be banned by the government.

Read More: PEMRA bans repeat telecast of Pakistani dramas, Ishqiya, and Pyar Ke Sadqay.

In essence, therefore, it is reasonable to presume that provided these considerations are kept into account whilst launching ‘Pakistani Netflix,’ this will be a successful and perhaps even welcomed project.

PEMRA friendly content – Less risk of ban and censorship

It is highly likely that a good majority of the content on this new platform will be strictly following PEMRA’s rules and regularities. This, in turn, means that there will be close to no problems with censorship and banning the tv shows and content displayed on the new Pakistani Netflix. It is also expected that the content will be accessible to a larger sector of the population – provided, of course, that this platform does not require paid subscriptions.

Simultaneously, it is anticipated that since the technological aspects have already been taken care of, as claimed by Fawad Chaudhry, it is unlikely that the new Netflix will suffer from ISP and/or credit card issues. This is, of course, up to the Ministry of Technology to guarantee. Still, since this project is largely Pakistan compliant, it is anticipated that all technology and automation concerning regularities are up to date and server friendly.

But is Netflix Pakistan for everyone?

As of November 2019, the percentage of internet users in Pakistan is 36.18%, translating into approximately 76 million citizens having access to the internet. This, of course, is a bare minimum of the wider Pakistani population. It is expected that the new Netflix-like platform will largely operate on an active internet connection. In that case, it is unlikely that the bulk of the population will benefit from the service. In fact, even the percentage that does have access to internet connections will face disruptions, for connectivity issues with the WiFi are no secret.

Nonetheless, it is equally true that we are in the era of cell phones and on-demand content. The use of television and radio is lessening, if not ending completely. This, in effect, this means that a Pakistani Netflix will not only work but also flourish, as smartphone users ranging from youngsters to the elderly will find it rather convenient to have Pakistani (and perhaps even international) content available just a click away.

GVS News Desk