AEC to boost media firms
Integration to bring opportunities, competition for content providers
Asean's economic integration over the next two years is expected to open doors in the region for Thai media content producers, while at the same time encouraging international content providers to make the Kingdom a hub to broaden their viewer base, a recent forum was told.
A commissioner at the broadcasting regulator and executives from leading content producers raised this issue at a seminar and public hearing on the Thai broadcasting industry's preparations for the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
The event was organised yesterday by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to create public awareness and understanding about the coming regional economic integration, which is scheduled to begin by the end of 2015 and is expected to have an impact on the media industry.
"Over the past couple of years, a number of joint ventures between local cable and satellite TV operators and foreign content providers have entered the market. Once digital TV broadcasting begins, we also expect to see more business expansion in this sector," Supinya Klangnarong, an NBTC commissioner and chairman of the watchdog's sub-committee on consumer rights protection, said yesterday.
As an example of this, in the last two years, GS Shop, South Korea's leading home-shopping operator, formed a partnership with three leading Thai companies - The Mall Group; CP All, the operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores; and TrueVisions, the country's leading subscription-based TV operator - to launch True Select, a home-shopping channel on TrueVisions' platform.
In the same period, GMM Grammy formed a joint venture with CJ O Shopping, another leading home-shopping operator in South Korea, to run the O Shopping channel on cable and satellite TV platforms.
Additionally, the country recently welcomed a new home-shopping channel, Shop Channel, on PSI Holdings' satellite TV platform. This channel is managed by a joint venture between Central Department Store, Saha Group's ICC International and Japan's Sumitomo Corporation. Supinya added that once the 10 Asean countries become a single market, it would be more attractive to foreign investment and this would present great opportunities for overseas entertainment and content providers to jump into the market of 600 million people.
Underlining this point, RS chief operating officer Pornpan Techarungchaikul estimated that the TV broadcasting industry would see more than 20-per-cent growth in advertising spending at least in the first two years after 48 digital terrestrial TV channels are put in place.
She added that the digital TV market, with more diversified players, could bring advertising costs down. This would also lure more new advertisers, which have avoided buying TV commercial airtime on the current free analog TV channels as ad rates were too high for them.
"If the AEC takes effect, the industry may also see a more than 30-per-cent rise in ad expenditure from local companies and international firms that are expanding into this region and Thailand," Pornpan added.
Given the ongoing conversion to digital TV broadcasting, Pornpan said, Japan's leading TV broadcaster had expressed interest in acquiring a stake in RS.
But RS says there is no need to have foreign capital, as it has enough funds to secure one or two licences of commercial digital TV channels in the coming spectrum auction. Pornpan declined to disclose how much money is to be spent on this.
The NBTC has underlined the importance of capacity building by local content producers to develop the quality of their products.
"If potential content providers wish to develop their content for export, or even to seek further support for business expansion in neighbouring countries, they can propose their plans to the NBTC's committee overseeing a research and development fund," she added.