Cash-starved PTV seeks increase in licence fee.


Byline: Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD -- With no business plan of its own, the cash-starved Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) is seeking to pass on Rs20 billion additional cost of its operations to the country's electricity consumers already overburdened by up to 40 per cent increase in their power tariff over the past 18 months.

The PTV board of directors, mostly comprising the corporation's own employees and other government officials, has approved a financial plan under which Rs20bn would be recovered from power consumers by increasing television licence fee from the existing Rs35 per month.

Interestingly, the corporation has hired three marketing managers from the private sector at a cumulative monthly salaries bill of Rs3 million which firmed up a financial plan by reducing the superannuation age of employees by two years to 58 that would save Rs1.5 million per month. That is the only saving the PTV is contemplating on its own against a financial gap of more than Rs20bn a year or about Rs17 million per month.

Surprisingly, the state-run television has not been able to develop a marketing plan in almost six decades even though many of private television channels established a few years ago are making profits. The government has also stopped funding PTV.

The raise will pass on Rs20bn additional cost of corporation's operations to electricity consumers

According to documents available with Dawn, the PTV board of directors approved an increase in the licence fee and sought approval from the prime minister.

The increase is part of a business development strategy of the state-run television, which has been devised by the recently inducted business development and marketing team.

Sources said that the business development team had floated the idea of enhancing the licence fee from Rs35 to Rs100 per month which would be collected through electricity bills from consumers of power distribution companies.

The minutes of the PTV board meeting held on Jan 8, state: 'The Managing Director informed the Board that the proposed presentation to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for revision in TV fee has been finalised. The Board advised the chairman to request the Prime Minister to give time for the presentation. The chairman stated that taxation matters are approved by the federal cabinet, therefore, the issue of enhancement in TV fee will be presented before the federal cabinet for approval.'

Earlier, in a meeting on Oct 9, 2019, the PTV board admitted that...

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