Screens Suddenly Sound Sacred
QTV, Pece TV, NoorTV, Hadi TV, ETV, DD Kashir, Sen, Take 1; TV becomes a blessed box these days, thanks to the month of Ramadhan
RAMADHAN 24*7 BY ALTAF KHAN
For a common man Ramadhan starts with the moon sighting at the end Shaban, 8th month of the Muslim calendar. But for content managers at the satellite and cable TV channels the month starts in advance. Tune into channels devoted to religious programs, our own local cable channels included, you will get to know Why. Recitations, Sermons, Na'ats, discussions on religious themes, interspersed with ads that tell us what to eat and how to stay healthy in Ramadan; how much of it has to be arranged for the month of Ramadhan!
Watch QTV; you will have Bazm-e-Iftar at iftar time, Ramadhan Camp, Roza Kushahi, Istakbal-e-Ramadan, Faizan-e-Ramadan, Noor-e-Ramadan, and Na'ats. Flip to Peace TV English or Peace Tv Urdu; apart from the telecast of Taraweeh from Makkah and Madinah they have a couple of programmes devoted to Ramadhan. And it is one such channel that doesn’t mind at all repeating its programmes million times over. Surf to Hadi TV and you have programmes like Ramadhan dar Quran, Dua month Ramadan, Oran the optimization of Imam Hussain, How to utilize the precious opportunity of the holy month of Ramadan, Treasures of the holy month of Ramadan. And then Noor TV, no different.
How do viewers take all this. “As it is the month of praising Allah and His last messanger, we like Na'ats presented on QTV and Noor TV”, responds Sania Shah, student of Journalism.
This all is not without an economic side. The drooping shoulders of channel owners suddenly start lifting in anticipation of a better harvesting season in terms of revenue generation. Media experts say there can be no better time to tap the potential consumers than Ramadhan. We are talking of a market where the consumers are Muslims.
Not only the channels beamed from Muslim majority countries, even channels in India, and our own state undergo a change. With tremendous reach and accessibility DD Kashir shows good number of programmes on Ramadhan, including sermons, Naats and special prayers. As the state run channel doesn’t depend on advertisements for its revenue generation, commercial breaks are few and far between. Even ETV Urdu, of Enaidu Group, is earning appreciation in Kashmir. It too comes up with a variety of programs specially meant for this month.
Here is what a noted broadcaster and a former Director of Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar has to say about all this: “Obviously the presentation skills have improved, with the technical advancement there is a betterment in DD programmes presented in the month of Ramadhan. And there is little room for further experimentation. Just show a programme informing the viewer about Ramadhan and its blessings with proper presentation and you will have your viewership. Look at the na'atkhans that we have got now, they know how to present themselves on screen. So the things have changed for better.” He also talks high of ETV Urdu for its quality programs in the Holy month.
In earlier times, before cable took it all over, people in Kashmir used to watch PTV. Despite poor visual quality they would keenly watch programmes which including Hamd-O-Naat and Sermons. This being the reason CDs of the programmes telecast on PTV had a good demand in the month of Ramadan. Even now such Cds are in a great demand. Abdul Rahim,who sells CDs in the Aftab Market, Lal Chowk says that “these days, the demand for the CDs of Dr Israr, Dr Zakir Naik and Owais Qadri is quite good. Their availibilty for us has become a must.”
How can local cable escape Ramadhan effect. Sermons and discussion at Iftar and Sehri are a regular feauture these days. But there is a perceptible difference in the originality of the content. Na'ats and Hamd are mostly downloaded from channels like QTV, Peace TV and Noor TV.
Cable owners, over the years, have learnt how to earn sponsorships in the month of Ramadhan. Live Iftar and Sehri transmission is working well for them. Despite poor audio-visual quality at times, they seem to have a feel of the audience pulse. Firdous Elahi, the Marketing Manager working for Take-1 Television tells us this: “Ramadhan is one of the prime months for sponsorships. So we do bring in change in the programming schedule keeping in consideration the audience needs. But it has other side to it as well, which goes unnoticed. Once the ban was imposed on telecasting current affairs programmes we were left with only entertainment based musical programmes and discussions. But with the arrival of Ramadan, most of the sponsors take their ads off those programmes, prefer religious programmes.” Sharing its views about the Ramadhan programming, Sen channel management says; “We are all for audience and audience expects us to show religious programmes in this month; so we go by that.”
For housewives busy preparing dinner or laying the table, television is the best companion. However some viewership of womenfolk may be lost on account of their overengagement in the preparation of meals. “As I am busy with household chores, I can only watch television at my comfort level after breaking the fast and saying Taraweeh prayers”, says Shaheena, a home maker.
Though there are those who are comfortable with the commercial side of this, but ask viewers and they have no complaints. They are getting to see the fair share of whatever they expect the media managers to show them in the month of Ramadan. So 'it is somewhat a case of Uses and Gratification theory', says Pervez Majeed Lone, a journalist working with Sahara Group. It definitely has its commercial side. That is what the channels are there for. If we expect media managers to be philanthropists who do it to just to earn blessings, we are too naďve.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 23 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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