Video blog: Why Toffee TV is awesome

Published: August 26, 2011

I’ve always been concerned about what children watch on TV every day. The absence of quality, locally-produced cartoons in Pakistan has always been disheartening for me. I remember a teacher who went through a lot of trouble and spent a huge amount of money only to order a Spanish cartoon TV series Pocoyo for her pre-school children, because the ones that are aired here in Pakistan are not appropriate.

A recent laudable effort by Rabia Garib and Talea Zafar, called ToffeeTV, was a welcome sign.

The online initiative is based on promoting our language and culture and features animated videos of long-forgotten Urdu short stories and poems. In these videos, the stories or poems are not merely read out, but most of the words are also seen typed in the video along with what they represent. Meanings, translations of words and lyrics to songs have also been added to the description of the videos.

Apart from stories, the website has more animated how-to videos, which include drawings and easy cooking recipes by Poppy Agha. The website has a subscribe button through which people can receive all latest updated videos to their email account. The team is also planning to launch their mobile apps by this Eid.

Before this, there have been a locally-produced programs for children (like TV channel,  Wikkid) which had better content than on channels like Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, but they have not been very successful due to lack of promotion and coverage. Parents don’t seem too concerned about TV content and have no desire to shift their children from international channels to our home-based ones.

Another channel BabyTV, specifically meant for pre-school children, has gained massive popularity among the little ones in our country, but it also lacks elements of our culture.

ToffeeTv has more than 60 videos uploaded now and is still in its initial stages. The animation quality cannot be compared with most of the cartoons that children here like to watch, but nonetheless, the effort needs to be appreciated and promoted so that more of such stuff can be seen in our country making the experience of cartoon-watching much more worthwhile.


Ema Anis

The social media editor for the web desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets as @EmaAnis (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  •!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    Thanks for sharing this. The second was very cute, while the first wasn’t bad, but the narrator needs a better mic (he sounds like he is shouting from a cave).

    Having said that, I have to agree. What the heck is up with cartoons today? They are so morbid, dark, and just too disgusting at times. Is this what kids like to watch today? We had Transformers, G.I.Joe, Thundercats, Silver Hawks, Ninja Turtles, Galaxy Rangers — OK so they were all fantasy/violence, but at least the violence was cartoonish.

    Cartoons these days are just too gloomy! Powerpuff Girls is alright for kids, but something like Ren & Stimpy (disgusting) or Courage the Cowardly dog (very creepy) don’t seem right for the mental development of a child.

    Regardless, I’d still they watch those cartoons than be raised by those brain killing Hindi dramas on Star Plus. You are right, parents don’t seem to care about the viewing material for their kids. I suspect it has to do with the fact that when those parents were kids, they didn’t have to watch the same garbage that is on TV today. Our parents never had to shepherd our programming.

    Anyway, if the people at Toffee TV are reading this, I like the animation, but you guys may want to invest in better audio equipment. Recommend

  • rabia garib

    @Noman Ansari: Thanks for the comment. On the doom and gloom in anime, I agree with you. It’s really quite grotesque for kids and growing them to have increased tolerance towards violence as they grow up.

    As for the audio equipment, there are a number of posts on which are very old and were put online as tests.. Most of the newer ones should have much better audio quality and we’re trying to make it better with each piece we publish. Please do take a moment to browse through and see if we’ve actually made any progress.. Things are still in the initial stages and we have a long way to go!

    Many thanks for your comment!Recommend

  • Shahbaz Lodhi

    A nice way to garb the attraction of people towards this is happening overall, well so far from myself a nice attempt to promote local cartoons & animated programs .Recommend

  •!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    @rabia garib:

    Hey, I checked out the newer vids, and the production values have gone up! I hope you guys land a TV deal. :) Recommend

  • rabia garib

    @Noman Ansari: :-) Thanks for checking and for also taking the time to post the follow up comment! Much appreciated!Recommend

  • Jibran T. Siddiqui

    Good t read. This is something that has been missing. Our children grow up with the western cartoons and literature, the current generation does not even know about Umroo ayyaar, Hatim Taee etc. This is a very good initiative taken by Rabia Garib and her team! Best of luck… I expect quality in future too.Recommend

  • rabia garib

    Thank you, Jibran. Appreciate the commentary. I DO wish others would take some time away from their lives and give this kind of content creation a little more importance.. after all, it IS a way to preserve our culture and for some of us, our childhood.

    By the way, we just launched the ToffeeTV app for Nokia phones on the Nokia Ovi Store. If you want, you can download it for free at:

    Keep checking in to see what we’re upto!Recommend

  • Ali

    well done keep up the good work!Recommend

  • Jose Maria Castillejo

    Thanks for your comments on our beloved Pocoyo!

    We work hard every day to create the best possible content for kids and we have dedicated more than 10 years of our life to Pocoyo. We are parents of young kids and we are worried about the content they get!

    We are now presenting the 3rd season and we will start working on the 4th in the following months!

    Thanks for your support!!!Recommend

  • Mehr

    After numerous searched I landed across your site, love It. Hope you add more Urdu stories and Qaida material. Recommend