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Pakistani TV channels’ overall ratings are down. What are the viewers watching?

Pakistanis are watching less television than before, according to Gallup Pakistan’s recently revealed 2017-2018 survey. Between 2017 and 2018, the daily average viewership of television was 1.92 hours a day. This was a 5% decrease from 2016-2017 and a 10 per cent decrease from 2015-2016.

These decline in TV viewership may be because many are now spending that time glued to their cell phones or laptops.


Also read: A New Law Intends to Regulate The Media. It Reads More Like A Control Mechanism


Television viewers in urban cities watch more television per day than viewers in villages. In fact, the data shows that the largest cities have the highest average of viewership at 2.33 hours a day and the average of rural areas is 1.82 hours a day. This may simply be because city dwellers have a higher number of leisure hours at their disposal, or perhaps they experience less load-shedding.

What are people watching?

It may appear as if your family watches the news talk shows all day long, but according to data, and the age-old adage: entertainment sells. People are spending most of their TV-time watching entertainment channels which account for 55% of the audience share.

News channels only take up 19% of our time. Interestingly, in data accumulated earlier, between 2016-2017, people were watching a little less entertainment and a little more news.

While children’s channels and sports channels hold significant viewership at 4% and 2% respectively, movies, music, religious and cooking channels all have less than 1% viewership.

Who has the largest piece of the entertainment pie?

ARY Digital seems to have Pakistanis hooked to their dramas – 19% of the entertainment pie is consumed by them. And while this may have dropped by 2% since last year, it’s still the largest piece of the pie.

PTV Home and Geo Entertainment are the runners up with 18% and 16% of the viewers, while Hum TV trails at 12%.

Only 7% of TV viewers are watching Urdu1 – the scare of the foreign dramas depleting the Pakistani market was crushed years ago.

Who tells the news best?

The powers that be will have to work harder if they want to displace Geo News from its position of number 1. The news channel has dropped only 1% since 2016-2017, it still holds 24% of the news watching viewership.

ARY News is the second most-watched news channel at 13%, but the gap between Geo News and ARY News shares is remarkable.

PTV News, Samaa and Aaj News maintain their third, fourth and fifth positions from the year before but Bol News has moved up from the eighth position to the sixth, pushing Express News down to only 4% of the viewership. Bol News increased its share from 3% to 5%, according to the data provided.

Where should we watch sports?

Sports channels have always kept it simple. Much like last year, Ten Sports has the lion’s share of viewership at 54%, while PTV Sports is at 32% and Geo Super is at 14%. The viewership of PTV Sports has dropped by a few points, while that of Geo Super increased by 3%.


— Figures in this section are based on data collected from the Gallup national TV ratings Panel.

— The Gallup Panel includes approximately 2,800 households in urban and rural centres in all four provinces of Pakistan.

 The Panel covers rural Pakistan and 18 urban locations (Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Kasur, Mardan, Multan, Pashin, Peshawar, Quetta, Rajanpur, Rohri, Sahiwal, Sargodha and Thatta).

Gallup Pakistan has provided this data in the public interest and on a gratis basis. Although maximum care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the data, Gallup Pakistan does not take any responsibility for errors or omissions. Gallup Pakistan will not be liable for any profit or loss (in kind or monetary terms) arising out of the use of this information.

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