LAHORE - Federal Ministry of Information has made drastic cut in the commercial rates being paid to the private television channels for all federal, provincial, autonomous bodies and public sector organisations.

The letter issued by the ministry says the rates have been slashed as the government ‘intends to support the electronic media industry and initiate electronic media campaign’ which is not possible on the existing rates.

The media outlets have raised concerns over the sudden government move in a situation when a number of media houses are facing financial crunch and making efforts for their survival.

They reminded that the government had previously assured to take them on board before taking any decision on commercial rates for the official, advertisements which count for one of the major means to sustain the private TV channels.

But the government has unilaterally taken the decision without taking the media houses into confidence.

Even about the newly revised rates, which will be effective from December 27, a discrimination has been shown as Geo TV, which leads in viewership rating, has been given less rates for airing per 60-second commercial from others, like ARY TV.

Chairman, Pakistan Broadcasters Association, Shakeel Masud Hussain, has rejected the revised rates for the official advertisements and says, it will amount to crushing the private TV channels after they are already facing hard time.

Mr Hussain said they have raised their concerns with the Secretary Information and want reversal of the decision.

The secretary is due to meet his body in Karachi on Wednesday next to hold discussion on the issue, he added.

The chairman said that the government advertisements have already shrunk and the new commercial rates will hit the TV channels even badly.  The letter of the Information Ministry says the existing rates are ‘unfair and exorbitant’ and they have been cut down after due deliberations and considerations.

Rates for Electronic Media

S.No.            `T.V.Channel         Duration           Present           New rates

                                                                                 Rates               (per minute)

1                   Aaj News                60 Sec                175,000          45,000/-

2                   Abb Tak                 60 Sec                245,000          35,000/-

3                   Apna TV                 60 Sec                210,000          25,000/-

4                   ARY News              60 Sec                245,000          91,000/-

5                   Business Plus       60 Sec                182,000          12,000/-

6                   Capital TV              60 Sec                210,000          25,000/-

7                   Channel-24            60 Sec                175,000          30,000/-

8                   Channel-5              60 Sec                175,000          5,000/-

9                   City-42                   60 Sec                210,000          15,000/-

10                 Down News          60 Sec                210,000          55,000/-

11                 Din News               60 Sec                210,000          10,000/-

12                 Dunya News         60 Sec                273,000          75,000/-

13                 Express News       60 Sec                245,000          65,000/-

14                 Geo News              60 Sec                290,500          89,000/-

15                 GNN                        60 Sec                122,500          10,000/-

16                 K-2                          60 Sec                140,000          6,000/-

17                 K-21                        60 Sec                210,000          10,000/-

18                 Khyber News        60 Sec                210,000          15,000/-

19                 KTN News             60 Sec                210,000          30,000/-

20                 Mashriq TV           60 Sec                105,000          8,000/-

21                 Neo News              60 Sec                210,000          15,000/-

22                 News One              60 Sec                240,000          35,000/-

23                 Public TV               60 Sec                ---                     35,000

24                 Punjab TV              60 Sec                105,000          10,000/-

25                 Royal News           60 Sec                175,000          5,000/-

26                 Roze News            60 Sec                245,000          5,000/-

27                 Sama TV                 60 Sec                245,000          85,000

28                 Sindh TV                60 Sec                210,000          12,000/-

29                 Such TV                  60 Sec                147,000          10,000/-

30                 VSH                         60 Sec                175,000          20,000/-

31                 Waseb TV              60 Sec                190,000          10,000/-

32                 7 News                   60 Sec                227,500          12,000/-

33                 Star Asia                 60 Sec                130,000          3,000/-

34                 92 News                 60 Sec                245,000          45,000/-

35                 Lahore News         60 Sec                210,000          15,000/-

36           Hum News             60 Sec    245,000 45,000/-