Salman Iqbal talks about ARY Digital, Films and Karachi Kings in interview with magazine
President and CEO ARY Digital Network Salman Iqbal has said that ARY will soon come up with a new portal “which will revolutionize the digital era in Pakistan”.
Mr. Salman Iqbal made the revelation during a wide-ranging interview with Pakistan’s DIVA magazine, in which he majorly talked about the success of ARY Digital and ARY News, his foray into the film-making business and his plans for his Pakistan Super League (PSL) team Karachi Kings.
About his foray into the news media and then making ARY News a huge success, Mr. Salman Iqbal said that his positive approach and his team’s willingness was behind making the news channel a huge success.
When asked how the stress associated with this business affects him, he replied that he feels it is a 24-hour job and comes with a lot of responsibility and stress but now stress has become a part of his life.
“It’s been twenty years in the industry, so stress has become a part of life. I honestly don’t think about stress now, my job is fun, and I enjoy the news cycle. Whenever I feel stressful, I’d wear the other hat of all the ones that I wear, and that helps,” said Mr. Salman Iqbal.
About the digital age’s biggest issue— dealing with fake news— the CEO ARY Digital Network said that the ARY News team has a number of experienced reporters who usually never fall for fake news.
“Reporters who have been there for so many years, we believe whatever say is set in stone. We have reporters who do hundreds of reports a year and have had no rebuttals, so there’s that trust within their skills that we have,” Mr. Salman Iqbal maintained.
The ARY Films’ Journey
When asked about his foray into the film industry, he told the interviewer that in 2013, he had gone to India to sign up a contract with various Indian studios to pick up Bollywood films for Pakistan but despite the fact that the meetings were going smoothly, he decided to invest the same money in Pakistan’s nascent film industry which he eventaully supported with successful films like ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ and ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’.
“I called them up at 2 am in the morning and I said I want to get out of the signing ceremony. If I am willing to spend that amount, then why not do it in Pakistan? We need to invest here – and look at how it’s grown! From 47 screens we have 150 today,” said Salman Iqbal.
He added that from that day to today, ARY Films’ foray into the industry changed things for the better.
He was of the view that the local film industry should come out of the drama industry mentality for real growth.
The man with the success story, however, advised all future investors that one cannot become a successful producer in a single attempt.
“If you’re just a one-time producer, you can’t succeed. You need to be a factory for producing films,” said Salman Iqbal.
About the future of ARY Films, he said that his organisation’s projection is to increase the number of films in Pakistan while also trying to change the genres.
“We need to venture out of just comedy or romance,” said Salman Iqbal.
ARY Digital’s plays ‘resonate with the masses’
About ARY Digital’s journey to becoming Pakistan’s number one entertainment channel, Mr. Salman Iqbal said that the secret behind this success was making dramas and shows that “resonate with the masses”.
“Our biggest mistake in the past was to target the audiences that weren’t even watching our television. When we went into the mainstream, it changed things altogether! After that, about four years ago, our team sat together again and we decided we’ll start finding real-time stories that are usually considered taboo, and make people realise that real-life stories work the best,” said Salman Iqbal.
He also gave the example of ARY Digital’s massively successful game-show “Jeeto Pakistan” to explain how targeting the masses brought in popularity and success.
“Whatever family someone comes from, they want a pass of the show! So, when we target the masses, we resonate them with a lot! These are the people who if you give content, they will love it forever,” CEO ARY Digital Network said.
PSL Plans for Karachi Kings
About Karachi Kings and the decision to invest in Pakistan Super League (PSL), Mr. Salman Iqbal said that PSL was one product that he picked “against all oppositions”.
“We spend over a billion rupees on it every season, and it’s literally one of the most expensive movies I have ever made, I look at like a movie! So, we are really keeping our hopes us this time around,” said Salman Iqbal.
He revealed that for the fifth season of PSL, his team has made some big announcements.
“Lots of changes and we’re hoping for the best,” the Karachi Kings’ owner said.
Mr. Salman Iqbal concluded revealing that his future plan for ARY Digital Network includes diversifying the business.
“We are venturing into a completely different field of business now, and this is the best time to do it. ARY will see major changes. Another thing that we’re focusing on is harnessing the power of the digital age. We’re coming up with a new portal soon too, which will revolutionize the digital era in Pakistan,” said the President and CEO of ARY Digital Network.