For a couple of years now we have built up and maintained PAK7 Supporters, a Facebook page for those who want to learn about and support the ministry, but until two weeks ago we did not have a dedicated page for our viewers in Pakistan. All that has now changed… partly because of the Coronavirus, but also because we have now completed a number of programs and are ready to share them. It feels like another exciting stage of our ‘launch’...
The new page is designed to have a Pakistani and Urdu speaking audience - and is largely focused on PAK7 video content, although we will share other forms of posts. The videos are all relatively short and are attractively presented to make them look appealing so that more people will click on them and watch!
This was a big challenge for us and really is a tough question for anyone working in Pakistan. There are apparently 74 languages spoken in Pakistan, although in reality 6 languages account for over 96% of people (Punjabi 44%, Sindhi 15%, Pashto 15%, Saraiki 10%, Urdu 8%, Balochi 4%)
Because of this linguistic diversity, Pakistan has adopted Urdu as its National language, and this is spoken or understood by the majority of the population. English is also quite widely spoken, especially among the middle classes, as it is a gateway language to other opportunities in life. The following table is from a nationally representative survey conducted in 2013 and shows how much of a broadcast in these two languages people would understand:
|Which languages do you understand?||All||Most||Some|
Long story short - we decided to make all of our Programs in Urdu.
This is a tricky question - because Urdu is written in two different ways. Take the Urdu word for ‘Realization’… Urdu script (احساس) and Roman script (‘ehsas’) Because text input in Urdu script has traditionally been hard on a phone (and sometimes on smartphones too), SMS and much social media content has been conducted in Roman Script.
For this reason we have currently decided to title and subtitle our content in Roman Urdu and also in English. I’m not going to say that this is a forever decision, because I know many different opinions will exist on this, but for now it is the approach we are taking.
In the first week of the launch we ran a campaign to get our video “I am ready” more widely seen. With a small investment in Facebook advertising and the efforts of our team and supporters in Pakistan (who shared it) we were able to get the following results…
I’m quite sure that many more mature Facebook pages would far outperform us, but this is a good start (with a very modest budget) and it is enabling us to build up the number of followers that we have on the page.
Absolutely - this is certainly our plan. We hope to license our programs to commercial channels and perhaps to some Christian channels so that they can be seen more widely. In time we may be in a position to launch our own TV channel, but at this point that dream is beyond our reach (as we cannot produce enough high-quality content yet).
If you are a non-Urdu speaker and you do not live in Pakistan, I encourage you to keep following PAK7 Supporters and probably not to follow the new page). We will keep putting English language content on PAK7 Supporters to encourage you and to inform you about the progress of the PAK7. We will also cross-post videos when we have subtitled them in English. But please do pray for the success of PAK7 Pakistan as we try to build a solid base of followers in the weeks and months ahead.