Thursday, July 28, 2011

ARY In Disarray?

The following information has been posted by one Mekaal Hassan on the journalists' mailing group PressPakistan. We cannot verify it but it does seem to have more credible citations than the numerous allegations usually found on the list. Can anyone authenticate or rebut this information?

(On a side note, does anyone actually watch ARY these days?)

"The private Pakistani satellite television channel, ARY Digital is in deep financial trouble. The company behind the brand recently slid into administration, leaving employees (journalists and technical staff) helpless and aghast.

ARY Digital TV, broadcasts 3 Asian satellite television channels using Sky television platform in England, ARY News, QTV, and ARY Digital. The company (ARY Digital UK Limited) commenced trading on 9th April 1999 (company registered number 03749889). By July 2011, it owed over 3,500,000.00 (GBP) to various creditors including some well known industry names.

What appears really odd is that the company, now in administration, terminated arrangements with its employees, but later (unbeknown to them) those same employees were hired by a similarly sounding company: ARY Network Limited.

This new company was incorporated on 1st December 2010 (company registered no. 07456134). Administrators were appointed to deal with the affairs of ARY Digital UK Limited due to the disastrous financial situation the company found itself in. Matters were dealt with at the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, London and the company was placed into administration on the 19th May 2011, (case number No 4172 of 2011).

It is surprising that the assets of ARY Digital UK Limited were sold by private treaty to ARY Network Limited on the 31st May 2011. It is noteworthy that two of the directors of the two companies are brothers.

One of the directors of ARY Network Limited, Mr Muhammed Yaqoob Iqbal is the father of Salman Iqbal, a director of ARY Digital UK Limited. It appears that company assets have simply been passed between family members whilst countless creditors and employees are unaware of this private arrangement.

The employees at ARY s media station are completely outraged as they feel they have been cheated and denied basic employment rights as they did not even know of the changes being made by management. Some salaries have not been paid for almost a year.

The dire financial mismanagement came to light a few months ago when the ARY engaged in a costly advertising campaign to launch a weekly newspaper called The Bridge . Despite the allegedly huge costs incurred, no publication was ever released and it appears that the newspaper s editorial team have now been forced from office. No explanation has ever been given.

The company had promised to launch the newspaper in Pakistan and the UK but failed on both attempts. It is unclear what strategy was at work and why one company was forced to incur exorbitant marketing/advertising costs given there has not been a single publication to date.

Reliable sources within the channel have cited unrest and anger among the employees who find themselves now being employed by the new company. According to a senior insider, professional trade unions are now set to step in and a legal battle will ensue by those wanting to protect themselves from the adventures of the owners.

It seems however if the old ARY has been put in to administration and the employees have suddenly found that the label has been changed and a new ARY has taken over (albeit under the control of the brother) the staff may have to ask the authorities to investigate matters further.

When the company was set up, the first directors were Jawaid Pasha, Yasir Pasha and Zain Pasha who (for reasons unknown) all resigned abruptly on 13th October 2000. It was on that date, Mr Muhammed Yaqoob Iqbal and Salman Iqbal were appointed as directors. Even Mr Asif Iqbal (the former cricketer) was a director at one point as was Barbara Kahan although their positions have since been terminated.

Records at Companies House (the government agency for all companies in England and Wales) makes it clear that the principal activity of the company to June 2006 was to produce and broadcast television programmes for the Asian community in the UK and Europe. It cites, the company having suffered material losses whilst carrying out this activity .

Those losses were financed and underwritten by its shareholders as well as loans from sponsors. It goes on to state: Due to heavy trading losses 5 years ago, the company entered into an agreement with one of its (family) associated company s . Therefore, its current activity is that of sales and marketing for 3 satellite television stations for the Asian market in the UK and Europe. " The Company suffered bad debts on a regular basis which created cash flow problems

The papers submitted by the ARY owners, state the company directors felt the company may not be able to trade through the difficult financial period. Rather than risk whatever little assets the company owned and further expose itself to trade creditors they felt the company should be placed in to administration to protect its position and therein its assets."


Anonymous said...

While living in continental Europe, ARY Digital was the only service anywhere that showed live cricket matches. For this, I am eternally indebted to Haji Sahib.

However, it also provided my first exposure to Dr.S&M's shows about Kana Dajal, which left me irreparably scarred.

So laanat ho aap par, Haji Sahib.

Anonymous said...

It's really shocking to see ARY in such crisis and playing with careers of so many employees, many of which are respectable journalists and well known names in the industry. Where this will lead (if it is true), I have no idea. Just shows that what goes around comes around and even the powerhouses may lose everything when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

I watch ARY News more often and QTV regularly..but ye I hate ARY entertainment channel,It mostly shows Indian stuff....not going to comment on the mentioned story coz i think its not true they seem quite stable.

Anonymous said...

Not a big issue - Chief Justice Iftakhar Chaudhary can grant a stay order against all payments for all times, as long as media is on his side.

Weedico said...

@Anon 11:17 AM

LOL! Bilkul jee. The kind CJP can always be depended upon to save those meaty media houses that are willing to cover his every sneeze.

And Haji Sahib is, well, a crook? No bigger or smaller than Mir Shakeel, though. But, of course, let's just stick to Zardari.

Judiciary-media-mullah-military allaince zindabad!

Farrukh Ejaz said...

What will happen to Kashif Abbasi? And now I know why Dr. Shahid masud left ARY agian.

Anonymous said...

the info about ARY on press list ic correct. i spoke to many people in ARY who have said on secrecy condition that the info is completely correct. ARY has given new contracts and employees are worried that the new directors will bankrupt the new company as well. the company is in serious financial crisis.

Anonymous said...

Well, When i was working at ARY i knew that when marketing department made recoveries as per scheduel to disperse salaries of staff, Mr Salman Iqbal came and got more than one crore rupees out of the account en-cashed, went back to Dubai, got a new Ferrari car, enjoyed its drive and got a flat for his second wife in UK. It was for the first time that the employees were unable to get the salaries for that said montha and they had to wait to get it next month. Then Mr Salman and his cousin Mehboob also a director of ARY started the same but taking out money from ARY accounts for their personal purposes. They have no issues with what their staff is facing. Even for your shock...they went in to Hetti USA during sea storms in the name of help and charity, collected millions, came back home, got new cars for every member of the family, and did lot more. Similarly got millions from companies in UK in the name of bussiness and got appartments, home, buildings etc etc. Who does not know the ARY appartments scandle in Dubai too. So its all a drama as they have created it. They have billions invested and for their own picnics. Yes they are bankrup when its matter of paying salaries to staff or issuing budgets for their programmes or getting technical equipment.... SHAME

Anonymous said...

Well done, Mazhar Abbas!

Anonymous said...

:) Hahaha your target smells me a lot, as know the culture of ARY and know that those who were fired have their personal issues. Why mazhar Abbas, just because he is still working at ARY and you want him out of their for ur personal vengeance and space aspirations. why not i could be Mohsin Raza :), Nasrullah Malik, Channa, Shahid Masood, Kashif Abbasi... OR..Guess hmhmhm...HAHAHA...Keep guessing and hitting ur liked targets :)

Anonymous said...

What will happen to Dr. Danish? I love Dr. Danish, especially when he has Zaid Hamid on. Most entertaining television out there.

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