Some quick thoughts on HUM TV

By Kazim Alam

There is no business like show business: six-month profits of HUM TV have risen 31% to Rs367 million, according to its financial results released today.

I’m not sure about other people, but I always thought that HUM TV is so successful because it relies on in-house productions.

Its dramas clearly stand out from the rest of TV plays that other channels air every evening. So somehow I assumed that HUM does a better job by making dramas itself as opposed to buying ready-made entertainment from private production companies.

It seems I was only partly right.

HUM’s annual financial accounts show the cost of outsourced programs was as much as six times higher than the cost of its in-house programs during 2013-14. This means that like other TV channels, HUM also buys its dramas from private production companies.

However, there is a catch: more than one-fourth of the cost of HUM’s outsourced TV programs in 2013-14 was linked with a production company that is headed by the wife of the TV channel’s CEO.

One should ask financial experts and media moguls how exactly outsourcing TV production to a sister organization benefits a TV channel. In this case at least, the private production company exists as a stand-alone corporate entity. But we all know that its dramas are exclusively available to HUM TV.

So what’s the point in ‘outsourcing’ after all?

I could do that story, but my newspaper wouldn’t carry it because of a conflict of (business) interest. Maybe other business reporters should look into it – it’ll make a good story.


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