Is ARY introducing the concept of binge-watching in Pakistan through ‘Do Bol’?

There is much that ARY is doing right that the other channels aren’t – that is something we have covered already. The channel seems to have struck gold with its choice of content and marketing skills as it keeps churning out one hit after the other. The latest ARY presentation that has the audience enthralled and glued to the screens is the Hira Mani-Affan Waheed starer Do Bol.

Following ARY’s strategy of airing double episodes for some of its major prime-time dramas, Do Bol has managed to form a very loyal fanbase in merely a month of its running. The double episodes ensure the drama’s pace is faster, the filler bits don’t bother much because the approximately 80 minutes of runtime makes sure the plot keeps developing; put simply, the double episodes have made audience get attached to the drama and the characters in half the time than it would’ve done had it followed the conventional one-episode-per-week format.

However, ab Do Bol banenge chaar as not two, but four episodes of the drama will air on ARY, starting this week.

What could the reason be?

It is not a new thing for ARY to switch up the days and slot of its dramas while the dramas are airing. A drama would initially start airing on one slot, and then after a few episodes, the promos for it airing on another timeslot and day would appear out of nowhere. Sometimes, the episodes wouldn’t air, to begin with, and the audience would be left confused. Last year’s Sami Khan-Madiha Imam starer drama Wo Mera Dil Tha was a victim of both these things.

But then, there have been cases where the dramas which started with the normal one-episode-per-week format would start airing twice a week. Dramas like Aangan (the contemporary, realistic, LSA nominated one) and Pukaar had started to air twice a week for a few weeks. But just like how they started airing twice a week without any warning, they reverted back to the normal schedule in the same manner.

It seems that ARY treats its dramas schedules depending on how well the dramas are doing rating wise. And it could also be because the channel does not have slots to fill with new dramas so it ends up giving more air time to already established dramas. The decision of doubling the double episodes of Do Bol does make these two reasons the most plausible ones. However, one can’t overlook the fact that in a time when the dramas get stretched at the first sign of success, these double double-episodes can cause some harm to the producer and the channel financially.

What the producer herself has to say

We reached out to Sana Shahnawaz, producer of Do Bol, to get her point of view on these recent developments. She sounded quite happy with the decision.

“As a producer, I believe in my project,” Sana started. “When the channel contacted me and told me they wanted to give Do Bol one more day of the week to run its double-episodes, I was very happy. The drama is very popular and people are liking it very much. If the channel is keen on so much air-time for my drama, it means it is working well with the audience.”

The drama’s popularity isn’t the only reason. With Ramazan barely a month away, and ARY dedicating the month to its roza transmissions followed by the post-roza Jeeto Pakistan program that runs for the entire month of Ramazan, Sana wanted her drama to wrap up neatly before it.

“The game show transmissions have no fixed timings. The audience wouldn’t feel up to watching a 2+ hour long game show and then sit down to watch two episodes of Do Bol. So, it is better that the drama wraps up before that situation arises. The channel would’ve never come to this decision had the drama not being doing extremely well. So, this decision has all the parties pleased.”

Well, ARY’s flexible airing schedule for its shows might not work well for all dramas but Do Bol is definitely benefitting from it. Considering how the audience is also excited at the prospect of getting even more content to consume of their favorite show, ARY seems to be hitting many nails in one stroke. Of course, some section of the audience might be complaining but it’s the era of binge-watching anyway. Even on a temporary basis, I feel it’s actually good that ARY is slowly introducing the concept of binge-watching to the Pakistani audience by throwing four episodes at a time at them to catch up with. And of course, it also means that the dramas would end early as well and that is a concept that the drama industry really needs to re-adapt to.  


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