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Marriyum accuses PTI of favouring ‘blue-eyed ARY’ in broadcast deal with PTV Sports

Updated 25 Jun, 2022
<p>Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addresses a press conference in Islamabad. Screengrab via YouTube/Aaj News</p>

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addresses a press conference in Islamabad. Screengrab via YouTube/Aaj News

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday accused the preceding ruling party of favouring “blued-eyed-boy” ARY in the broadcasting deal with the state television’s PTV Sports.

“They [PTI] changed the criteria for their child [ARY],” she said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad. “In order to benefit their favourites, they increased the marks scheme from 300 to 350.”

The information minister was speaking about the cricket rights agreement undertaken by the PTV with Group M of Pakistan and the ARY. She started her press conference by saying that it would focus on PTV sports. She explained that the PTV does its work in two ways, acquiring broadcast rights and its dissemination.

National television generated its revenue through two streams, firstly through the sports channel and the license fee that people pay as a subscription fee in the bills.

She announced that the coalition government formed a fact-finding committee on April 22, 2022, to look into the agreement/contract. “The constitution and TORs of the committee have already been issued and the committee held a meeting on 25.04.2022 wherein the committee interviewed the members of the PTV Evaluation Committee,” said the statement.

Marriyum further explained that the PTV sports do two works, firstly it acquired the rights and secondly it disseminated them. The PTV had all such rights till September 16, 2021, she said, adding that “an illegal contract took away” all the rights from the national television.

Trail of events

  • PTV sports went to the board with the issue that they don’t have money to acquire and disseminate rights
  • It called for going for expression of interest in such a situation
  • PTV’s 100% share is owned by Pakistan
  • On August 10, the board called for going into EOI and having a company with a past experience
  • EOI was published in one newspaper on August 20, 2021
  • After three days, it was realised the EOI won’t come up with demands
  • Addendum [Revision of initial EOI] published after three days, published on August 13 and date of submission changed to August 27
  • Frist addendum calls for cable and satellite specialised broadcaster needed
  • Second calls for infrastructure enhancement structure including a shift from SD to HD
  • On August 28, bids will open
  • Bids came from Group M ARY, Blitz, Tower Sports, and Trade Chronicle
  • Evaluated on 28th, Trade Chronicle was disqualified on technical grounds
  • Blits Advertisers got 182 marks out of 300, Group M ARY got 167, Tower got131
  • “Overall the committee decided that blitz advertisers have come up with good points and better partnership deal nonetheless there are few things are required to crease out in a pre-settled mode.”
  • Note sent to MD on August 28
  • Two (Blitz and Group M) were selected out of three and further negotiation
  • Renegotiation on September 1, “criteria, EOI, marks changed”
  • Total marks increased from 300 to 350 and Group M ARY given additional marks
  • Legal view from the private law firm
  • On September 6, it was decided to go with the Group M ARY deal for a three-year deal