ARY Digital (Urdu: ARY ڈیجیٹل) is a Pakistani pay television network available in Pakistan, the Middle East, North America and Europe. The ARY Group of companies is a Dubai-based holding company founded by a Pakistani businessman, Abdul Razzak Yaqoob (ARY). The network is focused towards only Pakistani diaspora. The channel has an expanding network of channels, each with an independent focus.
|Network||ARY Digital Network|
|Headquarters||Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan|
|Picture format||16:9 |
(4:3 576i SDTV) 720p (2000–2021)
(720p HDTV 16:9) (2021–present)
|Sister channels||ARY Digital UK|
|Launched||16 September 2000|
|ARY Digital Live||Watch Live|
ARY Digital, formerly known as The Pakistani Channel, was launched in the United Kingdom in December 2000 to cater to the Pakistani community living in the region. It uses Samacom, an uplink provider based in the UAE, as the uplink teleport station. The channel started off with a format similar to PTV Prime and other South Asian channels where it provided slots for soap operas in general while presenting an hourly slot for news headlines. Although flaming political talk shows and dramas were the main priority when it came to programming, the network soon was hailed for its news coverage.
The network acquired a license to start broadcasting in Pakistan.
In 2002, the ARY Star Gold Quiz Show became the first live show to offer a prize of one kilogram of gold. For the period of its broadcast, participants won over 260 kilograms of gold. In 2005, the network obtained the rights to show Live 8 on its sister music channel, The Musik. The channel also held rights to the Who Wants to be a Millionaire franchise for Pakistan.
On 18 October 2007 most of the ARY news team, covering former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's arrival from exile, were killed by one of two explosions. Pictures of the victims were shown live on the news hour and prayers were observed. Bhutto was later escorted safely to an official government house.
Since July 2021, ARY Digital has been only available in high-definition. The standard definition (SD) broadcast was shutdown 15 August 2021.
By 2004, ARY Digital had started up three sister ventures apart from the flagship channel ARY Digital, channels targeting generalized programming. They include ARY News, a news channel; ARY Musik, a youth-oriented music channel, and ARY Qtv, an Islamic network.
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:
The Asian feed of the channel is free-to-air, as channels in the South Asia are usually broadcast without encryption. Unlike other feeds, ARY Digital Asia features a wider variety of local programmes and international shows. Many of which may include foreign programmes including Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood movies, American & British TV shows, for example Criminal Minds, 24, Criminal Minds: Beyond Boundaries, NCIS, Prison Break & Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi
In 2003, ARY Digital was criticised 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.