Yes you read that right -- Star Plus, the Indian television channel otherwise banned in Pakistan, but presumably available in most parts of the country, is the most-watched channel on cable television. In fact, it leads the next most-watched channel, Geo News, by such a wide margin that more people watch Star Plus than the next four channels on the ratings list. Not only that, the top five also includes two other banned Indian channels, Sony and Colors.
Lest people be suspicious of where I'm getting all this from, this is in fact in the public realm, thanks to brandsynario.com, a Pakistani marketing and advertising website, which has posted the results of an exhaustive survey by Media Logic detailing the viewing habits of Pakistanis for 2010. Media Logic is incidentally the same company that does market research and ratings for the industry and hence its findings are normally taken at face value and accepted by all the channels.
There are two ratings lists that are of interest. The first includes local as well as foreign channels and that's where it becomes evident that Star Plus has an average rating that is more than thrice its nearest rival, Geo News. It also shows that both Sony and Colors have ratings higher than any local channel except Geo News. From this ranking, one can also tell that as many people watch Express News as Pogo, a children's channel targeted primarily toward the Indian market (and, from its website, apparently owned by Time Warner, the same company that owns and operates the Cartoon Network).
In the other list, the one that lists only local channels, the surprise is that the second ranked channel after Geo News is the Cartoon Network. In fact, more people watch the Cartoon Network than Geo Entertainment and more people watch Masala TV (a cooking channel) than Dawn News.