Television, like any other medium, has played a critical role in communicating the message to the audience, but TV has a more unique role compared to radio and print, where television combines both audio and visual elements for the audience. The TV in the mid-20th and early 21st centuries played a critical role in providing a significant source of information and, to some extent, education as well. The extensive reach of television made it one of the most effective mediums of mass communication, especially in the 1950’s and early 2000’s. The mass production of television sets in the 20th century allowed average households to buy the medium for entertainment and information purposes. This changed with the introduction of social media and smartphones. The traditional mass media, which was once dominant a few decades ago, is facing tough competition from the current digital medium, which includes the internet and social media.
For the past few years, people have questioned the relevancy of television in this current digital age. Especially within Pakistan, considering the nation has one of the largest populations on the planet and is a likely hotspot to attract a significant amount of viewership. The introduction of the internet, smartphones, and social media in Pakistan has allowed the public to access information and view content on the go. Such technological developments have led to the rise of “digital platforms” in the country. For content consumption, the public prefers online streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, social media, and video sharing sites like YouTube. Another factor that we need to include is the change in the demographic landscape of a country like Pakistan. The median age of the Pakistani population is about 20.6 years. The young population of this country prefers on-demand and mobile content viewing and avoids traditional mass media such as TV, radio, and newspapers. Another factor to include in the declining relevancy of television is political intervention and manipulation. The traditional media channels on TV are more focused on maintaining target rating points (TRP) while showing complete disregard for content quality.
The Pakistani TV industry’s failure in innovation and adaptation to changing public preferences and the manipulation of government and other political forces have led to a loss of credibility for the medium, including the interest and trust of the younger demographic, which is larger in numbers compared to the older demographic in the country. The current economic crisis and the existing decline in public interest have also led to a decline in viewership, which has resulted in a massive hit to the economic viability of mainstream media. Such developments have resulted in many traditional media outlets struggling to attract advertisers. Advertisers are turning to digital platforms to reach their target audience. Several of these mentioned developments have led to the decline of television viewership in Pakistan, where the public is turning towards digital platforms for their content consumption. We are looking at cases where many traditional media outlets are either close to shutting down or preferring to opt for massive downsizing of their workforce. The decline in television relevancy will have far-reaching consequences that will effect the entire industry in the near future.