Geo TV has removed its flagship Ramadan show ‘Ittehad Ramzan’ hosted by Sami Khan from its UK schedule due to strict product placement rules.
The show, which is heavy on commercial brands, was abruptly pulled off the air last Thursday (24th May).
A viewer had prompted Geo TV to explain why the show was taken off-air suddenly. A response from the broadcaster said, “Thank you for your message, there is a lot of branding within the content coming from Pakistan. Ofcom in U.K. requires us to comply with their regulatory codes on product placement and branding. Due to compliance we have had to remove content from UK. We are equally saddened.”
“We have previously been issued with warnings by Ofcom, and only if compliance agrees than can the transmission begin. We are not denying anyone any content. You have the choice to watch Geo TV live online with your favourite content. If merited and our compliance agrees you will surely see the transmission back on air. Stay tuned to Geo TV. I regret but this will be my last message on the issue till we have made a decision on it.”
Geo TV UK also confirmed to BizAsiaLive.com that “the show was removed in order to comply with Ofcom codes on Product Placement and branding within the programme. We are working with the content team to see if there can be a solution, if it works out, surely will place Ittehad Ramzan back on-air.” The channel has since reverted back to its fictions, with a 5-minute interval called ‘Qasas-Ul Quran’ taking the 21:00 slot.
Last year, Geo TV UK was one of the most watched broadcasters during the all-important Ramadan period. This year, rival, Hum TV seems to be leading the way with a huge surge in its audience, along with New Vision TV. Recently, ARY Family shifted its ‘Jeeto Pakistan’ to the 23:30 slot.