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MTV to unveil channels in Pakistan

November 29, 2006 12:37 IST
MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc, will launch two of its popular brands Nick and MTV in Pakistan. Nick, a children's entertainment channel launched in India in 1999, would be distributed in Pakistan by ARY Digital Network.

MTV, which entered India in 1996, is being launched in Pakistan through a licensing agreement with the Indus Media Group.

"With the launch in Pakistan, our brands' reach will increase to 33.5 million households in South Asia. Going forward, we will focus on strengthening our brands in Bangladesh. With a population of close to 130 million, the country offers a great opportunity for some of our key brands," said Amit Jain, managing director, India, and executive vice-president, Asia, MTV Networks.

On Nick's Pakistan entry, Jain said, "As much as 40 per cent of the Pakistani population is below 14 years of age, making it one of the youngest countries (younger than India as well). And there is a huge vacuum in the kids entertainment space there."

Other leading kids' channels are Cartoon Network, Disney, Hungama, Pogo, etc. "Nick is a brand that MTV would focus on. Our aim is to make it a leading player in the kids entertainment space in South Asia," Jain said.

The launch of music channel MTV Pakistan is expected to be a turning point in the Pakistani entertainment industry. Ahsan Ali, head - marketing & sales, MTV Pakistan, told Business Standard, "We are committed to providing a unique interactive opportunity to the Pakistani youth, which will also boost our reach."

MTV Pakistan will be a 24-hour channel that would reflect the tastes and interests of the Pakistani youth through a combination of local and international music videos and locally produced content.

This would be complemented by MTV's international long-form programmes such as MTV Hip Hop and MTV Brand New, Ali said.

This apart, specials such as European Music Awards, Video Music Awards and Lycra MTV Style Awards would also be included in the programming grid.

MTV Pakistan will blend the international formats with the local flavour, which would be the core of the channel, said Ali. Content generation, packaging, etc will all be done in Pakistan itself.

"Our plan is to design locally relevant programmes and present them in international format. We will provide music and non-music content that reflects the tastes and aspirations of the Pakistani youth," confirmed Ali.

The hugely successful Indian operations of the channel will guide its Pakistan foray. "Localisation has been key to MTV's strategy globally. It is this approach that has helped MTV to retain the top slot in the youth entertainment segment in over 167 countries," Jain said.

Aminah Sheikh in Mumbai