First air date
|25 December 1964|
Rest of Asia
by Government of Pakistan
|TV stations||16 (including 14 relays)|
|Owner||Government of Bangladesh|
|Established||25 December 1964 (as Pakistan Television Dacca)|
16 December 1971 (as Bangladesh Television)
Bangladesh Television (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ টেলিভিশন), commonly known by its acronym BTV (Bengali: বিটিভি), is the state-owned television network of Bangladesh. The network was originally established as the East Pakistan branch of PTV in 1964. It is the oldest Bengali-language television network in the world, and is the sister to the radio broadcaster Bangladesh Betar, which, along with BTV, are both owned and operated by the government.
Bangladesh Television is the country's only television network provided on terrestrial television. It is primarily financed through the television licence fees. Although it has produced many award-winning programs, it has often been accused of being the mouth piece of the government and their lack of quality programming. Both the headquarters and the administrative building of Bangladesh Television are located at Rampura in Dhaka.
Prior to the late 1990s, Bangladesh Television was the sole television broadcaster provided in Bangladesh, and was a very successful network in terms of viewership until the launch of several satellite television channels, which led to the network's downfall and stagnation. It operates two main television stations and fourteen relay stations all over Bangladesh, along with a satellite television channel, BTV World. It is a member of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and Asiavision, and is an associate member of the European Broadcasting Union. BTV can be received via satellite throughout Asia and parts of Europe and Africa.
Pakistan Television era (1964-1971)
BTV first commenced transmissions on December 25, 1964, as a pilot project in the then East Pakistan, airing a song by the singer Ferdausi Rahman. It broadcast from the DIT Bhaban on a four-hour basis, with broadcasting equipments provided by NEC. The first drama on PTV's Dhaka television station, Ektala Dotala, written by Munier Choudhury, was aired in 1965. The first television commercial was made in 1967 for a detergent soap 707.
On March 4, 1971, the Dhaka station of Pakistan Television was unofficially renamed to "Dhaka Television", and television celebrities refused to work for Pakistani television as the East Pakistanis struggle for autonomy. When Bangladesh was declared an independent state on March 23, 1971, television began showing the flag of Bangladesh and playing the Bangladeshi national anthem, Amar Sonar Bangla, rather than the Pakistani flag and national anthem. Threats were made by Pakistani authorities that if the flag of Pakistan was not displayed on television, then Bengali workers will be barred from entering the television center. However, pro-Bangladesh songs were aired on Dhaka Television during the night of March 23 instead. As a result, the Pakistan Armed Forces took control of the DIT Bhaban, but was attacked by the Mukti Bahini. At that moment, people joined to fight for the liberation of Bangladesh through its television industry.
Independence and government monopoly (1971-1997)
After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Pakistan Television's Dacca television station was renamed to Bangladesh Television, officially losing its affiliation with PTV. The next year, the previously autonomous organization was converted into a full-fledged government department. The network established its first relay station in Natore in 1974. In 1975, the offices and studios were shifted to the newly built headquarters located at Rampura in Dhaka. In 1979, Fazle Lohani created a new magazine show for BTV based on the The David Frost Show on BBC, Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren.
Bangladesh Television began color transmissions in 1980, marking the first official full-time color broadcasts in South Asia. As of 1985, via the Satkhira relay station, television sets in West Bengal in India could receive terrestrial signals of BTV. It began relaying broadcasts of CNN and BBC in 1992, marking the first presence of foreign television in Bangladesh. In 1994, BTV telecasted its first private production, a one-hour play Prachir Periye, directed by Atiqul Haque Chowdhury. The network established its Chittagong station on December 19, 1996.
During the 1980s to 1990s, Bangladesh Television had created several popular television series, such as Ei Shob Din Ratri, Bohubrihi, Ayomoy, Ityadi, Kothao Keu Nei, Aaj Robibar, and many others. It has also aired several foreign television series, such as Alif Laila and The Sword of Tipu Sultan, which helped with the network's success. In May 1997, Bangladesh Television received an Asiavision Award for its coverage of the cyclone that occurred in that year.
Contemporary BTV, decline, and renaissance (1997-present)
Bangladesh Television was the sole television broadcaster in Bangladesh until the launch of ATN Bangla on satellite television in 1997, and Ekushey Television on terrestrial in 2000. As competition grew over the years, BTV declined and stagnated, and privately owned television channels gained more popularity among locals. A 2017 survey by the Bangladesh Cable TV Viewers Forum stated that only around 25% to 30% of the cable television audience watch local television, among them BTV gains the lowest viewership, and is mostly watched by rural audiences, who only have access to terrestrial television. The network's director general, Haroon Or Rashid, once stated that if BTV does not change, it will become 'obsolete'.
However, up to 2003, Bangladesh Television had established fourteen relay stations, covering 93% of the country. In 2004, Bangladesh Television began international satellite broadcasts via BTV World. Due to a power outage caused by the North Indian Ocean cyclone on November 17, 2007, BTV temporarily ceased transmissions for nearly three hours that day. Its sister, Sangsad Television, was launched on January 25, 2011, which simultaneously broadcasts live programming from the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban. The same day, BTV began broadcasting in digital terrestrial television. Bangladesh Television opened the country's first television museum on December 1, 2016.
By 2018, Bangladesh Television began regaining its fame and relevancy, after the network reformed its programming, which led to a tremendous increase in viewership. According to Hasanul Haq Inu, the Minister of Information of Bangladesh, around 83% of the country's population watched BTV in that year. BTV, along with Maasranga Television and Nagorik TV, was the broadcaster of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Bangladesh. The network began broadcasting in India via DD Free Dish on September 2, 2019 via the Bangabandhu-1 satellite. To celebrate BTV's 55th anniversary in 2019, privately owned Channel i arranged a special program in its headquarters and was aired on both networks. BTV also inaugurated two new digital studios on February 8, 2020, at the BTV Bhaban, as a part of the network's renaissance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, BTV, along with Sangsad Television, began broadcasting educational programming for secondary-level students. It had also reaired some of its classic television series. On March 13, 2021, Bangladesh Television announced that they will be establishing 6 more regional stations, which will be accomplished by 2023. The network officially launched its app in May 2021, in which four channels, including BTV Dhaka, BTV Chittagong, BTV World, and Sangsad Television, can be streamed. On September 24, 2021, Hasan Mahmud, Information and Broadcasting Minister, formally announced to convert BTV's Khulna station from relay to a full-on regional station.
Bangladesh Television operates two main television stations in Dhaka and Chittagong, of which the station in Dhaka is relayed nationwide via its fourteen relay stations, known as upakendra (উপকেন্দ্র) in Bengali, throughout Bangladesh. About 2 million television sets in the country receives signals from BTV, and covers more than 90% of the Bangladeshi area. The relay stations are located at Natore, Khulna, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Rangpur, Noakhali, Brahmanbaria, Thakurgaon, Rajshahi, Jhenaidah, Satkhira, Patuakhali, Ukhia, and Rangamati respectfully. The network announced to establish six more regional BTV stations for the rest of Bangladesh's divisions.
The first station of BTV outside Dhaka was established in Natore in 1974. It was formerly a regional station airing original programming, but was later converted to a relay station simulcasting programming from BTV's Dhaka station. BTV's first contemporary regional television station was established in Chittagong in 1996.
Main television stations
- BTV Dhaka - The largest television station of Bangladesh Television, headquartered in Rampura and mostly branded as 'BTV'. It commenced transmissions for the first time in 1964 as a PTV-affiliated station of Dacca in the then East Pakistan. After Bangladesh's independence, the station rebranded to Bangladesh Television, and was the only major station of BTV until 1996. It is relayed nationwide via its relay stations and BTV's satellite channel, BTV World.
- BTV Chittagong - BTV's first and currently the sole regional television station, inaugurated in 1996. It began satellite broadcasting in 2016 and is the second terrestrial television station of Bangladesh.
Relay television stations
|Natore||BTV Natore Upakendra||1974||Originally a regional station; later converted to Dhaka relay.|
|Satkhira||BTV Satkhira Upakendra||circa 1980s|
|Sylhet||BTV Sylhet Upakendra||1995||Soon to be converted to regional|
|Khulna||BTV Khulna Upakendra||circa 1970s-2000s||Soon to be converted to regional|
|Mymensingh||BTV Mymensingh Upakendra||Soon to be converted to regional|
|Rangpur||BTV Rangpur Upakendra||Soon to be converted to regional, announced in January 2021.|
|Noakhali||BTV Noakhali Upakendra|
|Brahmanbaria||BTV Brahmanbaria Upakendra|
|Thakurgaon||BTV Thakurgaon Upakendra|
|Rajshahi||BTV Rajshahi Upakendra||2001||Soon to be converted to regional|
|Jhenaidah||BTV Jhenaidah Upakendra|
|Patuakhali||BTV Patuakhali Upakendra|
|Ukhia, Cox's Bazar||BTV Ukhia Upakendra|
|Rangamati||BTV Rangamati Upakendra||2001|
BTV is simulcasted worldwide through satellite television via BTV World. It was launched on April 11, 2004, the same year when BTV itself also began broadcasting in satellite. BTV World broadcasts on a full-day basis, and BTV's satellite feed simulcasts the transmission of BTV World, when the channel closes down for the night, as the terrestrial feed shuts off. In 2016, BTV Chittagong began satellite transmissions with airtime hours increasing over time. BTV broadcasts in over 49 countries via the AsiaSat 7 satellite, which includes the entire continent of Asia. In 2018, Bangladesh Television began broadcasting through the Bangabandhu-1 satellite, along with several other local television channels. Via the Bangabandhu-1 satellite, the network's television signals can be received in the Middle East and North Africa.
Bangladesh Television is available on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It has also been broadcasting live on IPTV and mobile TV services from November 12, 2013.
The logo of Bangladesh Television was designed by prominent art director Mohiuddin Faroque in 1971, and is currently in use since then. The logo consists of a 60s style television screen with a red disc and a green line inside, resembling a sunrise. It is one of the most recognizable logos in Bangladesh, as it has been used since the country itself gained independence.
Bangladesh Television has a diversified set of programming. It mainly consists of dramas, public affairs, talk shows, and others. It also broadcasts sports programming, typically cricket matches. The network terrestrially broadcasts from 7'o clock at morning to after 12 midnight. Its Chittagong station has an identical broadcast timing, whereas BTV World broadcasts all day. BTV, however, also broadcasts all day on satellite and cable television.
- Aaj Robibar (1999-1999)
- Ain Adalat
- Ayomoy (1990-1991)
- Bishaash (2010-2011)
- Bohubrihi (1988-1989)
- Ei Shob Din Ratri (1985-1985)
- Ittyadi (1989-present)
- Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren
- Kothao Keu Nei (1993-1994)
- Mati O Manush
- Nokkhotrer Raat
- National Debate
- Notun Kuri (1976-present)
- Shomoyer Kotha
- Sisimpur (2005-present)
- Sokal Sondhya
- Tri Rotno
- Ujan Ganger Naiya
From the late 1980s to the late 2000s, BTV aired many international programs, including children's television shows, cartoons, and many others. BTV did not encourage dubbing those shows, as this was seen as a step in pushing children and adults alike to get acquainted with the English language and its various accents outside of the regular academic environment and in a fully entertaining form.
- A Disney Christmas Gift
- Alif Laila
- Bananas in Pyjamas
- Bionic Six
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers
- Care Bears
- Charlie Chaplin
- Dark Justice
- Earth: Final Conflict
- Faerie Tale Theatre
- Family Ties
- Godzilla: The Series
- Hawaii Five-O
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
- Knight Rider
- Kung Fu
- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
- Miami Vice
- Mysterious Island
- Mortal Kombat: Conquest
- Mowgli: The New Adventures of the Jungle Book
- Mr. Bean
- Ocean Girl
- Perfect Strangers
- Peter Pan
- Ripley's Believe It or Not! (2000-03)
- RoboCop: The Series
- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs
- Samurai X
- Sky Trackers
- Spenser: For Hire
- Tales of the Gold Monkey
- Team Knight Rider
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- The A-Team
- The Adventures of Sinbad
- The Bill Cosby Show
- The Crystal Maze
- The Equalizer (TV series)
- The Fall Guy
- The Girl from Tomorrow
- The Lost World
- The Miraculous Mellops
- The New Adventures of Jonny Quest
- The New Adventures of Robin Hood
- The New Woody Woodpecker Show
- The Real Ghostbusters
- The Smurfs
- The Three Stooges
- The Twilight Zone
- The Sensitive Samurai (Ude ni oboe ari)
- The Sword of Tipu Sultan
- The Wizard
- The X-Files
- Thunder Cats
- Thunder in Paradise
- Time Trax
- Tom and Jerry
- Twin Peaks
- Woody Woodpecker
- The Six Million Dollar Man
- The Wild Wild West
- The Bionic Woman
- The Saint
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Media related to Bangladesh Television at Wikimedia Commons