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Satellite TV Channel


Satellite TV Channel was introduced in Bangladesh in the 1990s. On 29 September 1992, the US television network CNN started relaying its transmission via satellite in Bangladesh for a few hours everyday using the BTV channel. The same year, BBC started the same under similar arrangements. Permission to use dish antennas for receiving satellite transmissions directly by general users opened up new opportunities for the Bangladeshi viewers to see programmes from the outside world. Between 1992-95, more than 10 foreign TV channels entered Bangladeshi homes. Today, this number stands at more than 100.

The satellite television channels are now among the most popular means of entertainment for the people. New channels introduced in 1992 in Bangladesh in addition to CNN and BBC were basically those of the Star Television Network, Zee TV network, Indian TV and Pakistan TV. Some early starters bought dish antennas for very high prices and installed them on their roofs. Very soon, the innovative entrepreneurs, foreseeing a lucrative business, started operating private cable networks, which mushroomed throughout the country. The number of channels subscribed increased substantially in the major cities.

Private satellite TV channel of Bangladesh origin channel-1, ATN Bangla also went into operation from the late nineties. NTV and Ekushay TV appeared with variety of news and programme later became popular satellite TV channels. According to a survey conducted in 1998 by a Dhaka daily, ATN, BBC, Channel-V, CNN, DD-7, DD-Metro, Discovery, ESPN, Prime Sports, Sony, Star TV Network (Star Movies, Star Plus, Star Sports), Zee TV and Zee Cinema were among the most watched and most popular channels. CNN, TNT, MTV and Cartoon Network were found to have a high viewing rate. Among the relatively new entrants, Ekushey Television, ATN Bangla, Channel I, Star World, National Geographic, HBO, AXN Action TV, and Alpha TV (now called Zee-Bangla) also made good impression among the Bangladeshi viewers.

Ekushey Television was shut down during the rule of 4-Party alliance government (2001-2006). Some new local private satellite channels were given permission to launch their operations during this period. These included: RTV, Bangla Vision, Channel One, Boishakhi Television and Diganta Television. Ekushey Television resumed its operation in 2007 during the tenure of the caretaker government. The state-owned BTV also extended its transmission worldwide by launching a satellite channel called 'BTV World'. Three private channels channel One, Falgun Music and CSB news were shut down earlier. Desh TV, ATN News, Independent TV, Samoy Sangbad, GTV, Bijoy TV, Independent TV, Channel 71, My TV, Islamic TV, Machranga TV, Channel 24, Mohna TV, Channel 16 and Channel 9 are the latest notable entrant in the field. Some other new private satellite TV channels are expected to go on air very soon. According to a survey conducted in 2008, 68% Bangladeshi of over 15 years of age watch satellite TV channels at least once in a week. The number of TV audience has increased by 26% during the least ten years because of the massive expansion of local satellite TV transmissions as well as cable network. Only 8% households of Bangladesh had TV sets in 1995, the figure has raised to 41% now and 42% TV sets have satellite antennas or cabel connections. Earlier in 2006, the 'Cable TV Network Operation Act' was enacted to regulate the activities of cable TV operators in Bangladesh. [Helal Uddin Ahmed]