ARY Digital, formerly known as the Pakistani Channel, was launched in the United Kingdom in December 2000 to cater to the growing demands of South Asian entertainment in the region. Within a short span of three years, the unique proposition and the content of the channel resulted in massive popularity and in order to enable greater expansion and broadcast into other countries. It uses Samacom, a monopolising uplink provider based in the UAE, as the uplink teleport station.
Recently ARY Digital has affiliated with several other television networks to promote their content in Pakistan. Amongst these are Fashion TV for which a regional channel FTV Pakistan has been airing since December 2005 on the ARY Digital network. Plans are under way for Al Jazeera Urdu in affiliation with Al Jazeera targeting 110 million Urdu-speaking households worldwide and HBO Pakistan in association with HBO's south-Asian division. With the network's help, Nickelodeon is also planning to kick-start its operations in Nick Pakistan where it would be beamed into 2.5 million households with kids. With so much international diversity under the network's belt, Salman Iqbal, the global CEO and president of ARY Digital network feels confident that the network is bringing international quality to Pakistan's growing market.
By 2004, ARY Digital had ended up three sister ventures apart from the flagship channel ARY Digital, channels targeting generalized programming. They include: ARY News, a 24hr news channel; ARY Musik, a channel aimed at the younger generation featuring the latest from the Pakistani music scene & ARY Qtv, a religious service. With these four channels under its belt, the network viewership grew by folds over the coming years and ARY Digital would often then call itself the premium entertainment provider in the region.
ARY Digital Network is composed of the following channels:ARY Digital - Infotainment for ASIA Region
ARY Digital UK - Infotainment for UK Region - No longer available
ARY Digital ME - Infotainment for Middle East Region
ARY Digital USA - Infotainment for USA Region
ARY Zindagi - Infotainment Channel
ARY Films - film distributing company
ARY Musik - 24-hour music
ARY News - 24-hour independent news
ARY Qtv - Quran TV, religious content
ARY Zauq - Food channel
ARY TUBE - Official Video Portal of ARY DIGITAL NETWORK
ARY Sports - Official Online Sports Portal of ARY DIGITAL NETWORK
ARY Films is film distribution company running in Pakistan. It's a part of ARY Digital Network. Thirty five films including 11 Urdu, 6 Punjabi and 17 Pashto films were released by ARY Films in 2013. Among them Waar, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, Josh, Chambaili, Zinda Bhaag, Siyaah and Lamha tops the charts in industry.VH1 Pakistan
ARY Shopping Channel
In 2004, ARY Digital divided its broadcasts in such a way, that each Continent had different programming at different times, to better facilitate the audience. The Channels were split as follows:ARY Digital Asia
ARY Digital UAE
ARY Digital UK/Europe
ARY Digital USA
This version of the Channel is free-to-air, as channels in the Indian subcontinent are usually free-to-air . Unlike other versions of the Channel, ARY Digital Asia, features a wider variety of Programmes and shows. Many of which may include foreign programmes including Hollywood and Bollywood movies, Indian TV shows, for example Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi is one of the Indian TV shows currently being aired.
ARY Digital UAE is also free to air, but the programming is limited to Pakistani programmes only, this includes ARY Digital's exclusive Dramas and TV shows, this is because UAE's local Channels own the rights for American and English shows and films. Indian programmes are also not broadcast on the UAE version, this is because the Original Indian channels Broadcast the Programmes on their own Channel.
UK watchdog revokes ARY’s licences
In a statement released on Wednesday, the watchdog, known as Ofcom, said it had revoked licences of all six channels owned by the ARY Network.
“The ARY Network held six Television Licensable Content Service (‘TLCS’) licences granted under Part 1 of the Broadcasting Act 1990,” said the Ofcom statement. “These licences were used to broadcast the following channels: ARY Digital, ARY QTV, ARY News, ARY World News, QTV–Islamic Education Channel and ARY Entertainment.”
At the turn of events leading to the emergency in December 2007, Salman Iqbal, CEO of the network announced along with the ARY Digital network committee the establishment of a media advisory board, the purpose of which would be to assess the media coverage (be it news or other programmes) on the network. Saying that ARY Digital has been reporting without bias for a while but the recent events ushering the emergency rule and temporary closure of one of the biggest news network Geo TV, ARY Digital required a better unbiased coverage. He concluded that an array of government leaders could weigh the coverage presented by the network on the basis of its rationality and coverage so that the media portrayed by the network was in verse with the way Pakistan is supposed to be imaged. The board would have seats for 20 members, each focusing on different aspects of media would provide their views on how media should be portrayed.
For a brief moment in 2003, ARY Digital received criticism upon its airing of a prisoner's derogatory comments against the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC-3) and a video showing balded young girls behind bars begging for mercy. The contempt of court proceedings against the officials of the network were withdrawn after the judge accepted unconditional apologies.
Semi-defunct BOL Network and BOL News has been taken over in August 2015 by ARY Digital Network CEO Salman Iqbal, who said that the decision is taken in view to provide career protection to media industry and its workers. The founder of ARY Group said the his media group would launch the transmission of the channel within three weeks. However this deal fell through and in September 2015 it was announced that ARY was not taking over BOL.