Broadcasting panel may allow analog shows after deadline

Economy August 25, 2014 01:00

By Usanee Mongkolporn
The Natio

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Satellite, cable operators may be able to air Ch3 shows

The Broadcasting Committee is today expected to consider allowing satellite and cable TV operators to continue carrying analog TV 3 programmes after the deadline to drop the channel on September 1. 
The September deadline was extended from May 25 when the NBTC’s new definition of free TV channels took effect.
A source from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said the Broadcasting Committee would cite the 27th announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order issued on May 24, which allowed analog, digital, satellite and cable TV operators to resume airing programmes as usual. 
The junta had ordered the suspension of regular broadcasting after staging the May 22 coup.
‘Wants to avoid criticism’ 
The source said the watchdog wants to avoid any criticism from the massive audience base of TV 3. 
About 70 per cent of the 22 million households countrywide watch analog programmes via satellite TV, while 30 per cent still use terrestrial TV antennas.
The NBTC source said households with only terrestrial digital set-top boxes will not be able to view channel 3.
The conflict between the regulator and Bangkok Entertainment Co (BEC), which runs analog channel 3, arose when the NBTC introduced the new definition of free-to-air TV programmes on February 9. 
It said free TV channels mean only terrestrial digital TV channels, not analog ones anymore. Pay TV can no longer carry analog TV. 
The move is the NBTC’s attempt to quickly usher the country into the terrestrial digital TV era. The new definition is part of the NBTC’s “must carry” rule, obligating pay TV to carry free TV programmes.
BEC in May petitioned the Central Administrative Court to ban the new definition and issue a temporary injunction against it. The court accepted the case for consideration but rejected the request for the injunction. 
BEC’s concession from MCOT to operate Channel 3 expires in March 2020. Its sister company BEC Multimedia runs three terrestrial digital TV channels.
The other analog TV operators, such as Bangkok Broadcasting and Televisions, which runs channel 7, and MCOT, which runs Modernine TV, have no problem with the new free TV definition since they can simulcast their analog channel on their new digital TV channels.