CHANNEL 5 operator Royal Thai Army Radio and Television expects revenue of about Bt2 billion this year, 40 per cent from providing network service for digital TV, said Maj-General Boonyarit Wismol, the station's director of policy and planning.
“Our revenue will gradually shift from the Channel 5 TV station only to the network-provision service. Revenue from our two digital TV networks is forecast at Bt800 million this year, while revenue from Channel 5 will be Bt1.2 billion,” he said.
Last year Channel 5 made Bt1.8 billion in revenue. But he said advertising revenue was expected to drop by 30-40 per cent this year because of the competition from the 24 new commercial digital channels.
Channel 5 has to change its role from commercial to public TV within five years, according to its agreement with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). This is expected to result in a decline in advertising revenue from the present Bt1.8 billion per year. But it hopes the decline will be offset by its digital TV network service.
Channel 5 is one of four holders of NBTC licences to provide digital TV broadcasting networks.
They test-ran the networks on Tuesday.
Channel 5 has 14 customers for its network service, including ONE, True4You, TNN, Work Point TV, PPTV, Mono TV, Now, New TV, and Nation TV.
The NBTC will officially grant the 24 commercial-channel licences on April 25, and all are to be up and running by May 25.
Boonyarit said the station planned to start charging a network-service fee in May or June.
Channel 5 will spend Bt2 billion over the next three years on expanding its digital TV network, of which Bt1.416 billion is being spent this year to cover 67 per cent of the population in major cities nationwide. The investment is expected to break even in eight years.
Channel 5 will charge a maximum monthly network-rental fee of Bt4.72 million per standard-definition channel and Bt14.16 million for a high-definition channel in 2016 after it has completely expanded its network nationwide.