Indus to launch two new channels by year-end

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Pakistan’s Indus Media Group has confirmed that it is in advanced stages of striking a deal to broadcast two of its channels on the Sky Digital platform by year-end.

The new channels, a premium channel called Indus along with the first Pakistani music channel Indus Music will go live by December 2005 or January 2006 latest. Indus Media Group already parents three channels in Pakistan-Indus Vision, Indus Music and Indus Plus. The forthcoming Indus channel will show a mixture of current affairs and entertainment shows. Speaking to Biz Asia today, an insider said; “Indus is a general entertainment channel which is packaged to include our best programming from our popular channels: Indus Vision and Indus Plus/News. Indus Music is Pakistan’s premiere music channel and is also an MTV Asia affiliate. We are also launching the same services in Canada and the United States.”

Foreign launches seem to be part of a growing trend for South Asian channels expanding distribution and targeting ethnic viewers in markets outside their native regions. GEO TV and ARY Digital, both Urdu language channels from Pakistan, launched dedicated streams to the United States and Europe in 2003, while the government owned Pakistan Television (PTV) has had presence in the United States and Europe through third-party Prime TV since 2000.

However, Indus Media Group is taking a different approach from competitors to the North American market. Indus Media Group is not just merely redirecting existing streams of its channels from Asia, but instead repackaging content to create premium services. Regardless of the approach, with increased competition in Urdu language channels, at home and abroad, the winners at the end will be the Pakistani viewers.

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