World Call Blocks Super Sport and Fox Sports

The world cup has been in progress a good few weeks, and sadly Pakistan and India are ‘peacefully’ back home. The impact of the exit of these top teams is rumored to have put a dent of up to 40% on the anticipated viewership which was initially expected by the advertisers egging to use this event to promote their products.

What is definitely interesting to note is that World Call in Karachi has been actively been blocking Fox Sports and Super Sports to ll of their viewers in Karachi, both these channels are also licensed to air these World Cup matches. I can understand that Geo might want to maximize its viewership but forcibly censoring other channels. If the plea is for having an exclusive Pakistan licenses, then a look at the WC07 media partners shows SONY (SET MAX) having rights to Pay Television in Pakistan while PTV is also seen to be airing these matches but is not listed in either the primary Franchise column and neither in any sub-franchise rights issued by the World Cup media organisers.

Since Pakistan is out of the World Cup the excitement has definitely died down but the issue to muscle in a censorship of channels by Geo definitely irks at least me, if not to others.

Story Submitted by: Farooq Nadeem

34 Comments so far

  1. Lies (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 7:11 am

    this is not censorship, its just good business.


  2. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 9:08 am

    They are running business my friend and how can you tell them what to do. How about you open your dental clinic in Lyari :-) ?? I am not sure about logistics of TV channels, could you please shed more light how is this censorship ??


  3. Teeth Maestro (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 9:24 am

    Lies & OBK: I think the question I pose here is not if its competitive business or not but the fact that you block two full channels, you don’t improve your own service to attract viewers but in a reaction try to shut down every shop along the line by bullying your way through. I may understand that you would want to maximize your own profits but can PEMRA or other govt agency allow this to happen. Actually I think throughout the world this type of action is definitely looked down up.

    OBK (I suspect its PPH): Dental Clinic in Lyari? I suspect it was just a joke as I see no issue as far as it to do with worldcall and censorship? ;)


  4. IB (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 11:05 am

    It is not new with GEO network, this network is also responsible to pressurize PEMRA for banning other indian channels, like star one, sony, gold, zee ect., from cable networks. Worldcall for nearly 1 yaer has been not airing these channels, now they had started Sony & Starplus just 3 days ago. So Azaadi-e-Sahafat Alambardar GEO aur jino do.


  5. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

    a cable service owners’ are at liberty to lock / unlock the channels at their own discretion.

    PEMRA only ‘instruct’ to LOCK & UNLOCK channels which are ‘not according to norms of country’ – otherwise PEMRA have ‘ZERO’ influence on any channel / cable operator.

    I wonder how come Gerry Springer show is still ‘ON’, and some of the cable operators are showing Mnet – with all their late night adult stuff.

    Where is PEMRA ??


  6. lost_in_the_maze (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

    What I hate about WC is…..everything. They took of Paramount Comedy Channel and replaced it with B4U movies. Who in the world watches this channel???? I hope they fire thier channel lineup team….if they have such a team and replace them with someone how has brains.

    Can everyone here please call WC and have them put Paramount back. Thanks in advance.


  7. MB (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 12:22 pm
  8. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 1:29 pm


    World Call in Karachi has been actively been blocking Fox Sports and Super Sport

    Are they not free to choose what should be blocked or not? If you are not satisfied then just change the services? GEO and Worldcall channels, I don’t understand this equation.

    Every cable provider follows his own list of choice within limitations set by PEMRA. I don’t get all super sports channel but other cable provider in my area provides all channels of super sports.

    It’s just matter of business. You have choice to change the service that’s it. I also will not consider it censorship.


  9. BoZz (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

    TM you have a very valid point here. It is not censorship but yet it is much more. It is backward marketing at best. It is being monopolistic is some ways.

    It reminds me of another rule that our government took out many years ago for International travelers. Travelers were allowed to take a foreign carrier only once in a two year period. Otherwise you were asked to take PIA.

    I guess people who support Worldcall in their action here belong to that group of mis-guided souls.

    Cable service is something that you pay for. As a client you have every right to expect and get all the channels as listed and subscribed by you. The cable operator should not interfere with that.

    If GEO or any other channel wants explicit rights to telecast in this region, let them pay for it and strike a deal with Fox Sports or which ever other channel showing the same sport. So that Fox sport stops broadcasting this particular sport to this region.

    You should even in this case, continue to receive Fox Sports channel minus that event.

    That is how it is supposed to work in a free market economy where consumers have rights and business have ethics. But don’t wake me up now, let me continue dreaming.


  10. hasan (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

    but super sports and fox arent supposed to be airing it in pakistan anyway. Doesnt that mean that showing them here is illegal. Geo and sony only paid for showing it in pakistan but since worldcall doesnt show satmax anyway i think geo has a right to tell them to block super and fox


  11. BoZz (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

    True GEO may have that right. And you could also be right when you say transmissions of Fox and Super Sports may not be meant for this region.

    But that problem is between Geo, World Call, Fox and Super Sports to hack out.

    I repeat, as a customer and a client of Worldcall, you have a right to receive what you pay for and Worldcall have an obligation to provide to you services and channels as advertised. And not act like KESC, switch on and switch it off whenever it suits them.

    You might add that then most foreign channels are not legal in Pakistan as Worldcall has not acquired the rights for broadcasting them. That may possibly be also true. However that is Worldcall’s headache not yours or mine.

    Why have an protectionist attitude then in favour of Geo? Good question! Partly money and partly due to threat. Since Worldcall’s business looks not to be based on sound legal grounds, they are like a twig that has to bend in every which way the wind blows.

    What does that leave you with? Not much I am afraid except as usual to suffer in silence.


  12. Lies (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

    TM, I’m sure Geo paid a lot ofm oney for exclusivity of some sorts and its being denied to them.

    This is the ICC’s/PEMRA’s fault. The ICC should NOT sell licenses based on exclusivity for cable tv if operators are already LEGALLY carrying other channels showing the WC. Greedy bastards.

    PEMRA, being the regulatory body of the govt. should NOT allow the sale to go through in the name of fairness to GEO and Pakistanis. A non-exclusive license is fairer. But that not worth the same money, is it?

    Bozz, you have a very valid point about being able to get what you pay for. Didn’t think abt it that way… Does Worldcall reserve the right to change channels at will as part of their terms of service?


  13. Inspirex (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

    What i was told about this a few days before the start of the world cup by a major media buying house, is that geo is guaranteeing to advertisers that every penny of their advertising money will be effective, because they knew (or had a deal with PEMRA) over the blocking of Super Sports.

    Looking at it from the channels perspective, GEO is a Pakistani channel and pays taxes, along with licencing fee in Pakistan. Since they had paid for TV broadcast rights in Pakistan, PEMRA was under a moral oblgation to promote a local channel, as compared to international ones. As far as SET MAX and Super Sport are concerned, they yeid no revenue locally, and advertisers for local channels saw those channels as a threat to the effectiveness of the advertising dollars. hence you block them, make sure people watch only on the media thats allowed to broadcast in Pakistan by its authorities. Supersport migt have satellite rights from ICC, but they dont have landing rights for the same content in Pakistan.

    end of the day, its a method of business surety. Im sure its perfectly legal. If it isnt, there must be some clause on the pemra ordinance about promoting business for local channels, which the geo guys took up.

    ethically, its a completely differnt debate. It boils down to product availibility to the consumer, and that happens from country to country, region to region over all products.

    If ISPs in are ordered to block sites on moral grounds, then media can block channel on the same grounds too. Extend that further by a bit, and you could do it in the name of promoting your own media.

    (im not saying whether its right or wrong, im just elaborating the scenario here the GEO used to get the channels blocked).


  14. BoZz (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

    @LIES – In all probability Worldcall can ‘change’ channels. Must be there some where in the fine print. Not that it would make a difference if it was not so, since we would still be unable to hold them to it.

    Having said that, in no should they either censor or curtail what the viewer can see. However all this legal stuff has no bearing here in Pak-land.

    @INSPIREX – What you say also makes sense. There are two issues at stake here. One is, if Geo has the right to exclusivity. Well if it has paid for it and used normal and legal channels for acquiring it, than yes maybe it has.

    The other question is whether Worldcall can block a channel on cable. This is a definite no in my opinion. We have a right to those channels that we have subscribed to.

    And yes it is WRONG.

    What is the next step, block foreign radio stations when local ones wish so?

    Do you all agree with the policy of banning import of cars just so that Toyota, Honda etc. can benefit? (we had that didn’t we, and we know what all happened and happens still)

    Geo is acting like a big bully on the block, using twist arm tactics when it suits it and closing the eyes when it does not.

    What I value most is the ability to make a choice. Freedom is all about making choices.


  15. Teeth Maestro (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

    @Inspirex – good point but then whats the deal with PTV? I think its a trade-off, I have not watched the channel to say if its GEO ads or PTV slapping ads on top.

    I agree with BOZZ there are important moral issue then merely a justified business practice.


  16. Inspirex (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

    Ptv and geo have a contract. Ptv airs all the ads that geo airs and gets paid by geo. Ptv is under pressure from its vast terrestrial network to air cricket, and it gives the advertisers an added bang for the buck. You dont have cable operators in rural locations. People still have ptv.


  17. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

    Okay Dr. Sahib now we are talking. It is about moral issues but definitely not censorship.(Personally, I do not believe in moral issues in business as long as one does not break any laws). By the way using “extremes” words for all small matters loses the effectivenes of the words.


  18. Ahmed Bhaila (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

    the last time I heard both fox sports and super sport are not allowed to be aired in pakistan region infact fox sports is exclusive to the mideast region and they had these warnings during their programs that its illegal to beam this channel in south asia sometime back mnet south africa wasnt happy with their channels being aired in pakistan i guess PEMRA is pressuring these cable operators to take these channels down from their lineup so i am guessing geo is not behind all this and no i dont work for geo :)


  19. Inspirex (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

    Lets not forget the fact that the pemra pressure came at a timing that was extremely critical :)
    from what i hear, geo had everything to do with it, just like they had when the indian soap channels were banned when geo started broadcasting them. All interestingly coincidential, is it not?


  20. BoZz (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 12:03 am

    Worldcall is disorganized and at best a very mediocre company. At some point in time they will have to negotiate with foreign broadcaster and satellite owners.

    They are literally making money off our backs. While they charge us, in all probability Worldcall itself does not pay royalty to the various channels for re-transmission.

    Right now they are taking advantage of no effective regulatory body being present in Pakistan that safe guards propriety rights.

    All this however does translate into very cheap subscription fees for all of us. So I guess for the time being, although I do not agree with this, let us ride the boat without rocking it too much!


  21. Sufi (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 12:16 am

    Jis ki laathi uss ki bhains.

    First of all, it is at world call’s discretion to chose whichever channels they want to aire. When making a contract, if you had these sports channels in your list, I am sure somewhere in the “terms & conditions” *in a very small font* they must have made it clear that they can replace the current channels whenever they want or whenever it is not in accordance with the law.

    Moral Issues, isn’t every big corporation immoral to start with? lol


  22. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 12:22 am

    Yesterday I was reading in paper that fashion tv has been banned in entire India.


  23. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 1:11 am

    AXN was banned in India for over 6 months.

    It started only two weeks back. It was not that beam was not in the AIR. It was cable operators who choose not to broadcast, and involved GOVT to get even with AXN-INDIA for monetary issues.

    Irony is that cable operators in our country does not have a customer program guide attached to their service contract. Therefore they are at will to ON / OFF what they choose, PEMRA is their EXCUSE.

    PEMRA is puppet of the selected media mafia of country.

    PHPL (DAWN GROUP) & Majeed Nizami (Nawai Waqt group) has taken them to supreme court., (non-functional) Chief Justice was suppose to hear on April 11th 2007.


  24. wasiq (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 4:46 am

    Mamoo!Eid ay milad mubarak

    Yaar qassam khao Mnet aaraha hai…its been gone since summer of 2005….i miss it very very much….sob sob…lol


  25. Mehboob (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 2:19 am

    I called them,, and they totally denied that they were blocking these chanel ,, they unplug these channels before the match… No doubt WCL service is best,, but i don’t like to watch cricket matches on GEO super,, it sucks,,, and because of their pathetic coverage im not even 1 % intrested in rest of worldcup matches…


  26. Saad Durrani (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 2:35 am

    We all miss MNET! They had good shows on Primetime. Well indeed, WORLDcall is a mediocre company. They shuffle their channels every now and then. Their CEO openly said that they are politically correct when it comes to PEMRA rules but argued that it shows “unauthorised” content on its home-based channel as everyone is doing it.

    WC has the best service but it tends to lack a standard line of channels. Now it shows less foreign and more useless Provincial language channels. They blocked up Channel V & MTV Europe for no reason even though MD of Indus Networks – MTV Pakistan said that he has no objections to show these channels.

    Similarly, WC now airs Star Plus without its logo, a senseless move. Blocking FOX Sports and Super Sports completely is a foolish act, they could’ve used partial black-out as an option. By the way, WC says it shows more than 85+ channel when they are only 85 (It used to show 88 channels).

    Someone said Paramount is blocked, SHOWTIME changed its frequency and named it SHOWSERIES Comedy.


  27. Omar R. Quraishi (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    well yes they have blocked it — which is crazy


  28. Omar R. Quraishi (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

    lost in the maze — couldnt agree with you more — you guys should write letters to newspapers on this matter


  29. Saad Durrani (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 2:58 am

    People who are eager to watch Paramount Comedy Channel now can watch it as Show Comedy on the Digital Set Topbox which has an installation charges of Rs. 6000/- with monthly of Rs. 1650/-. They are going to do that to every channel sooner or later.

    Check Satcom, it is much cheaper than WC.
    http://www.connect2b.net/Digital-TV-Tariffs.htm


  30. wasiq (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 3:37 am

    so this shows that i was not the only one staying up all night to watch(chup chup kay)MNET….Iss shehr main humm jaisey diwaney hazaaroun hain..

    @O.R.Q..we get the newspaper from tandoor with nan/roti/sheermal/….should i send it there…????lol


  31. UZi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 10:43 am

    ok


  32. padma ghosh (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

    Hello All,
    I am a reporter for an Indian newspaper, The Telegraph, and I am doing a story on MTV’s foray into Pakistan and the Middle East and their media strategy. It would be great if someone could reply to a few questions, I would be very grateful. First is, are MTV Europe and Channel V really blocked? Is it a strategy by MTV or the cable operators?
    Secondly, how is the response to MTV Pakistan? What kind of content does it have–more of local or international? Also, how does censorship work on MTV Pakistan? Is it severely censored?
    WOuld be very glad if someone or many could answer these questions. It’s tough to find people I can quote.
    Thanks much,
    Padma


  33. wasiq (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 2:48 am

    ouch! it hurts…hurts really bad yaar….


  34. Dee (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 4:48 am

    Hmmm, i believe we have quite a few media people on this forum.Please do take time to answer Padma Ghosh querry.
    Dee



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