Are Ramadan Shows in Danger Due to Coronavirus Lockdown?

Profits and ratings before safety?

sidra-iqbal-ramzan-transmission

The holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner and Pakistani media is losing its mind. If we know one thing about our entertainment industry, it’s that the month of Ramadan is more of ratings goldmine than anything else.

And now with the ‘unscheduled’ coronavirus pandemic,  the very ‘humble and pious’ Ramadan transmissions on TV networks are struggling to keep the cameras rolling just weeks before the Islamic holy month.

From missing scenes and unfinished episodes to sets being sanitized against the COVID-19, many studios are being forced to shut down temporarily while others are struggling to work under tough restrictions.

A rat race for ratings

For most people, this lock-down and stay-at-home scenario is seen as a way of fighting off the spread of the deadly coronavirus. However, for television executives, this is a potentially huge opportunity to boost their ratings as pretty much everyone will be at home, tuned in to their television.

Due to this, the media industry is doing all it can to keep their studios up and running to provide content for the millions of captive television audience at home, pressuring the networks to provide a constant supply of content.

Pakistanis know how much buzz is created by Ramadan-themed shows on popular networks like Geo and ARY, so it should not come as a surprise that the two will do everything to keep the studios and sets up and running.

“The countdown has begun. We need as much content as possible before Ramadan. If we can’t have our shows ready, we’ll look at buying from outside production houses even if it means lower quality,” an executive said, requesting anonymity.

While many would suggest that they prefer to watch live Ramadan transmissions in the holy month, there are bigger and more important things to consider this time. The potential risk of spreading the coronavirus within the set or the production crew is very high. Plus there are audience members in these shows as well. And then again, do we really want to give out a message that social distancing is no big deal?

What do you think, should Pakistani TV network studios continue to work on set? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Written by Sher Alam

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