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Use of high tech phones dents CD business in Swat

Use of high tech phones dents CD business in Swat

MINGORA: The once blooming business of DVDs and CDs in Mingora is on the verge of collapse owing to the introduction of modern mobile phones.

“There was high trend of watching movies, songs, dramas, etc on DVDs and CDs, but now the situation is different. We would release dozens of local dramas and albums of new Pashto songs on Eid, but introduction of hi-tech mobile phones has changed the situation,” said Abdul Qayyum, owner of a DVD and CD production house in Shalimar market of Mingora where only few shops now remained in business.

Mr Qayyum said that even a small shopkeeper would do a roaring business during the Eid season. “We would spend millions of rupees on producing dramas and tele-films which would earn us double of the cost. But, today, nobody bothers to buy DVD or CD disk due to which we do not invest in this business,” he said, adding that only one DVD drama was released from Swat on this Eid.

The DVD and CD business was considered profitable as once over 300 shops operated in three main markets of Mingora city. Presently, only a dozen of shops are functional in all the three markets.

Various reasons contributed to the downfall of the once flourishing business.

Firstly, during militancy from 2007 to 2009 the Taliban forcefully stopped people from selling films, while scores of shops were blown up by them. Secondly, severe loadshedding played havoc with the sector which rendered electronic gadgets useless. Thirdly, the introduction of new mobile devices with video facility supplemented with memory cards insertion greatly affected the business.

“Now, a person opens a shop with one desktop computer and stores thousands of gigabytes of data in it for customers to buy their desired data and transfer it directly to their mobile phones at cheap rates and then watch them for weeks,” said Akbar Khan, another DVD shop owner.

Customers say there is no need to buy expensive DVD players and television sets to watch movies and songs.

“We can’t enjoy movie on DVD players as most of the time there is no electricity. Instead, we have mobile phones with big screen on which we can watch movies non-stop,” Khalid Khan, a customer said.

On spending Rs30 to Rs50, over 20 GB data is transferred to a mobile device and between 50 and 100 customers visit data transferring shops daily. “We keep up-to-date data in our computers to meet the needs of customers. We earn Rs2,000 to Rs3,000 daily,” Ibrar Ahmad, a shopkeeper, told Dawn.

The CD shop owners feared that the business would soon perish keeping in view the rapid drop in customers.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2015

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