Television Overview

Television is popular in Kabul
and the main towns of Afghanistan
and its impact is growing.


An Intermedia survey of 2,058 people conducted in 2009
found that 89% of respondents in Kabul watched
television, compared to only 37% in Afghanistan as a whole.


Most viewing takes place at home in the evening. The
peak viewing period is between 7pm and 8pm.


A survey by the California-based Asia
Foundation in 2010 found that 88%
of urban households have functioning TV sets, whereas only 28% of rural
households have access to television.


Satellite and cable are not widely available.
Around 8% of Afghans own a satellite receiver and only 5% have access to cable.


As television increases in
popularity, it is starting to erode radio audiences. Recent survey evidence
from a number of sources indicates that as households acquire a television set,
they tend to abandon their radio.


The main TV broadcasters are:


  • Moby Group: which owns the popular Tolo TV and Lemar TV commercial channels
  • Ariana TV: a commercial
    station which can be seen in most of Afghanistan
  • State-run Radio
    Television Afghanistan (RTA)
    which runs two channels: Afghan National Television and RTA


Separate media surveys by Altai Consulting
and Intermedia in 2010 both concluded that Tolo
was Afghanistan’s
most popular television station nationwide.


They also agreed that Ariana TV held the number two spot,
with the RTA stations in third place
and Lemar TV in fourth.


However, the importance of Lemar TV should not be under-rated.
This Pashto language station holds the number one spot in
six southeastern provinces where most of Afghanistan’s Pashto speakers live.


Given the very limited access to
satellite TV in Afghanistan,
the impact of international TV broadcasters is minimal.


The Intermedia survey identified Ashna TV, an offshoot of Voice of America’s (VOA) Dari and
Pashto radio service Radio Ashna, as
the most frequently viewed international TV station.


The satellite channel of the Iranian
government broadcaster Islamic Republic
of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)
a distant second.