Chinese dramas 'missing' from Pakistani TV
Updated: 2013-08-07 08:01
By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)
Television viewers in Pakistan can choose from a surprisingly wide variety of channels, ranging from conservative religious programs to US-style talent shows.
Anchors prepare for a live newscast at Pakistan Television, the national broadcaster. News channels face fierce competition in the thriving Pakistani television market.
News channels make headlines every day in fierce competition for more commercials and higher viewer ratings. Wherever there is a bomb blast, it seems there is a video camera.
Leading broadcasters from outside the country are also trying to grab market share. CNBC, a leading US-based news channel, has even established an Urdu-language channel and hired local newscasters.
Pakistani entertainment shows are also copying styles and templates from their US and European counterparts at a time when imported TV dramas are capturing public attention.
TV dramas from Turkey, which are either dubbed or subtitled, are also very popular, said Hassan Immad Mohamedi, director of sports at the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, which runs the national broadcaster, Pakistan Television.
Samina Parvez, director-general of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, said China and Pakistan have exchanged many television programs over the years.
Documentaries, especially, have been shown about the Chinese civilization and culture, Parvez said.
However, even leading broadcasters in the country admit there are few TV dramas from China shown on the country's small screens.
"Many times we have aired Chinese documentaries with subtitles. There are no dubbed TV dramas, mainly documentaries," Parvez said.
Mohamedi suggested there is a great opportunity for Chinese TV dramas with their themes of family life.
"As for the PTV home channel - our most popular home entertainment channel, its tag is family entertainment, so family dramas would be very, very interesting," he said.
More Chinese TV dramas are expected to be subtitled in English to attract potential viewers, said Xu Fangzhou, a professor of television studies at the Communication University of China in Beijing.
"The language barrier should be removed. Yet Chinese dramas with English subtitles are far from enough," Xu said.
Rukhsana Hassan, an assistant professor of the Department of Chinese at the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad, also complained about the lack of Chinese television programs on Pakistani television.
"Currently, television stations in Pakistan have no specific programs introducing China," she said.
Hassan visited China for the first time in 1985 as a student at Beijing Language and Culture University, and her enthusiasm for Chinese popular culture has not diminished with time.
"Four or five years ago, my husband went to Beijing and purchased a DVD of the Chinese TV drama, The Golden Wedding. All of my family members watched it," Hassan said of a popular 50-episode Chinese TV drama about family life and marriage, produced in 2006.
Thanks to the Internet, Hassan now has access to the Chinese dramas and songs through the Internet.