Pakistan banks have been instructed to stop different modes of payments, including credit cards, for subscribing (to) Indian content in Pakistan, including Zee5 video-on-demand service. Indian content has already been banned in Pakistan, so the new circular could hit online payments for Direct to Home (DTH) service. Those who have DTH facilities are mostly using Indian content and they make online payments. Now the subscriber cannot pay directly from Pakistan, but the Indian provider can get payments from other countries like the United Arab Emirates. In India, DTH broadcasting service refers to the distribution of multi-channel TV programmes by using a satellite system and providing TV signals directly to subscribers’ premises. No data is available about how many Pakistanis are using this option to subscribe to Indian content.
Following the Pakistani cabinet’s decision, the country’s entertainment industry and audiences reacted with disappointment to the decision. Many people belonging to the entertainment industry expressed their frustration at the decision and many noted it will affect the livelihood of actors, writers, directors and technicians across the country. In recent times many actors, writers, directors and technicians have been turning to digital/OTT given the lack of local streaming options. On demand and paid streamlining services operating out of India including Zee5 gained a lot of popularity and subscribers base in the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic which left people working from home and in lockdowns. Zee5 in particular has been airing Pakistani made content on its streaming service available in Pakistan with two major serials, Churails and Ek Jhooti Love Story.