The unimaginable has happened. MTV is now in Pakistan. But will the Generals or the ulemas allow the cultural ‘corruption’ of its youth?
With the Bollywood mania stronger in Pakistan than on home turf, MTV could well be the vehicle of Pakistan’s Indianisation. But for obvious reasons MTV corporate heads are playing down the Bollywood connection.
The music channel launched formally on Tuesday in alliance with the local music channel brand ‘Indus’. A spokesperson of MTV said that as of Tuesday the licensing agreement with Indus Media Group (IMG) paves the way for Indus as a channel to be replaced by ‘MTV Pakistan’.
The channel will be distributed to 3.5 million households and to make the flavour really local the Pakistan head honcho is Ghazanfar Ali, Chairman of the Indus Media Group.
The obvious concern of the Viacom subsidiary is that will MTV Pakistan fit into the conservative cultural and political scenario in Pakistan? Speaking to Hindustan Times from Pakistan Amit Jain, Managing Director, Executive VP – MTV Networks Asia said: “MTV Pakistan will also be sensitive to local culture. It will celebrate Pakistan's vibrant musical landscape and youth culture.”
The channel, Jain said, will blend international formats and the rich local music. The network will play a major role in supporting and exporting Pakistan’s artists and cultural heritage around the world. “We have found that places like Karachi are very international and the youth here appreciate MTV’s international formats. The channel will be a mix of English and Urdu. But more of English,” Jain explained.
The VJs will also be local Pakistani youths and the programming and creative team would also be local. The programming team along with MTV South Asia team is getting trained.
However, Jain informed that there would be no MTV India programmes imported into Pakistan in the initial stage although that was an earlier plan to do so. But, there could be a number of Bollywood-centric shows that are not necessarily MTV India shows.
Apart from MTV, the network has also entered into a distribution agreement with ARY Digital to distribute the kids channel Nickelodeon in Pakistan.