Pakistan’s Place in the Streaming World

Noman Roshan
It’s no secret that the streaming scene has taken the world by storm with Netflix and Amazon leading the race. Around 135 million people around the world are streaming content from Netflix and around 40 to 45 million are watching content on Amazon video. They are only the two leading streaming sites but there are many more with likes of Hulu, DC universe, iflix, and more on the way from Disney, At&T, YouTube, Facebook, and Apple. Both Netflix and Amazon have expanded to around 150+ countries including Pakistan and with Netflix producing original content in more than half of these countries and Amazon not that behind.
Both Netflix and Amazon have already produced and released original content in India which bot Netflix and Amazon consider as a crucial market for them considering their 100 million smartphone using population.
While both Netflix and Amazon have launched in Pakistan and Netflix striking a deal with PTCL shows that they are interested in the Pakistani digital market and are looking to add as many subscribers from Pakistan as possible. Majority of Pakistani population is not interested in buying legal copies of movies and dramas and nor are there that many cinemas to go to, so Torrenting and pirated DVDs are the easy and free way to watching movies and TV shows and therefore they still hold a majority of the chunk in the entertainment market, people still opt for pirated DVD and downloading illegally from torrents because its free or the cost is very low in comparison to legal copy.
Whereas streaming lies in middle it’s not as costly as buying a legal Blue-ray copy of a movie nor is it free and it provides 100s of TV show and movies on a monthly price ranging from RS 300 TO RS 1500 demanding the package and service the one is using, it’s not that the streaming scene is going too boom in Pakistan it will take time but ultimately it’s going to take that market and find its very own place.
This is where the Pakistani content creators come in Netflix and Amazon are the perfect places to produce new shows and movies on and there are many reasons for that first and foremost the censorship it does not work on web the way it works on cinemas most of it is self-censored by the company its produced by and not by the countries censor board, both Netflix and Amazon provide a very large and diverse audience from around 150+ countries, producing content or either of them is not just said and done but nor is it that hard because one thing that is clear is that they are interested in the Pakistani entertainment market. What’s needed is that first web series which would come either from Netflix or Amazon and then it would just roll from there. As of now there is a Netflix original in production which includes Pakistani actors and looks like it would be the first Netflix original for Pakistan and in an interview given to express tribune, Jami Mahmoud of moor fame stated that “He is working on something with Netflix” a web series of sorts. There are many fascinating and interesting stories to be told in Pakistan, and most of these stories are untold not only because of money but the so-called censorship that is in place for the theatre in Pakistan, but the web is free of that.
This is also a way for the film producers to earn a little extra chunk of cash by selling the digital rights of the theatrically released and movies and also TV dramas to stream site like Netflix Amazon and iflx etc. which would only help in boosting producer’s confidence in spending more on films and TV.
Streaming is not only a replacement for piracy and illegal ways of watching movies and shows in Pakistan, but it can also prove to be a perfect stage for quality content to be produced for the Pakistani audience that is very much interested or I dare say hungry to watch good quality shows and movies. And also to show the level of talent the Pakistani filmmakers and content creators have but are bound by budget and mostly by the censorship of the state. But without these hurdles, the content produced can be every bit as good and convincing as any other international shows currently produced on Netflix or Amazon.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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