ISLAMABAD – As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and billionaire revolutionary Imran Khan bury the hatchet thanks to the diplomatic tactics of Chief of Army Staff General Shareef, the biggest impact will be on Islamabad’s biryani walas and local news channels which were both thriving during the dharna for Azadi.
While the top slot in ratings is almost always reserved for entertainment channels, the past week’s call for revoution had viewers tuned in to the news for the latest on marches, mud-slinging and mediation.
Among news channels ARY News led the pack, (while Geo News continues to remain absent thanks to cable operators) followed by Express News. The spike in news channel ratings has lasted over two weeks – an unprecedented event in TV history according to Jerjees Seja, Ary Digital.
“Viewer are tuning in to watch because politics is being played like a soap opera,” he says. ” Imran Khan appears on prime time and announces that he has an earth shattering revelation to make in one hour, naturally the audience is glued to the screen.”
ARY has been in the eye of the Azadi storm with controversial guests like former election commisioner Afzal Khan and former President Pervez Musharraf appearing on talk show Khara Sach. According to Seja the guests are part of thorough journalistic coverage and have nothing to do with seeking ratings.
Meanwhile, news channels continue to garner record ratings as the political crisis winds down.
“There have been marches before, elections, even wars but nothing ever impacted viewers quite like Imran Khan,” says Seja.