Benish Irshad Takes Helm at Begin.Watch: Leadership Shift Sparks New Era

Benish Irshad, who served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Brainchild for over three years, has embarked on a new journey by joining the premium SVOD/TVOD OTT platform Begin.Watch in a similar capacity. This strategic shift not only signifies personal career advancement for Irshad but also triggers a reshuffle in leadership dynamics at Brainchild. Stepping into Irshad’s shoes at Brainchild is Shaukat Mahmud, formerly the COO of Spark at Blitz Advertising.

During her tenure as COO at Brainchild, Benish Irshad played a pivotal role in securing numerous new business opportunities. Notable among her achievements is the successful launch and transformation of Publicis Media in Pakistan into a prominent brand within the media investment management sector. Now, assuming the role of COO at Begin.Watch, Irshad shoulders the responsibility of supervising product development initiatives and nurturing licensee relationships.

The burgeoning demand for digital content consumption in Pakistan is underscored by Data Darbar’s annual State of Apps report for 2023. According to this report, Pakistanis splurged over $61 million on the app store, with an average data consumption rate of 7.8GB per user. Among the top streaming applications of 2023 were Tamasha boasting 11.7 million Monthly Active Users (MAU), followed by Netflix (2.9 million MAU), Amazon Prime (1.36 million MAU), MyCo (1.33 million MAU), and Tapmad (830,000 MAU). A key distinguishing factor among these platforms lies in their offering of original and legally sanctioned content.

As of Q1 2024, Begin.Watch has purportedly secured lucrative sports streaming agreements in the MENAPT region. These agreements encompass prominent entities such as the Professional Golfers Association, Saudi Premier League, and All Elite Wrestling. Furthermore, negotiations are underway with renowned sports leagues including Grand Slam tournaments, Formula 1, soccer leagues, and volleyball leagues to procure legal and licensed streaming rights.

On the entertainment front, Begin.Watch has garnered support from industry giants such as Warner Brothers Discovery, Sony Pictures, and NBC Universal. The rollout of content is contingent upon the launch of the mobile application. As a subsidiary of MHL, Begin.Watch is discreetly amassing a diverse content library spanning sports and entertainment, with plans for expansion across Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Venture accelerator Z2C Limited is providing backing to MHL, a technology firm focused on establishing a transparent media supply chain. Notably, Begin.Watch represents Z2C Limited’s inaugural foray into the business-to-consumer (B2C) domain, distinguishing itself from previous involvements with entities like the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Coke Studio through specialized advertising agencies.