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CTH foresees much-enlarged customer base

New English Premier League kicks off soon, pay-TV operator CTH, which holds the broadcasting rights to these soccer matches, has high hopes of building up its customer base through business partnerships by more than 3.8 million from just 340,000 currently before the end of the year.

Apart from its own distribution network, its business partners are PSI Holdings, some satellite-TV operators that cannot be named, My World Internet-protocol television, mobile operators, information-technology retailers, Sanook.com, and its subsidiary GMM Z Pay TV.

Chirdsak Kukiattinun, chairman of the CTH executive committee, said yesterday that by partnering with these distributors, the company would be able to reach a wider audience in different segments while there was only two years left for the company to monetise the US$380-million rights to telecast 380 live EPL matches per year.

"We need a quick return on our huge investment, approximately Bt12.2 billion, from this premium sport content," Chirdsak stressed.

Besides getting the right business partners, the company is turning its focus to affordable and user-friendly products and services to lure new customers. A newly re-launched ready-to-use satellite TV set-top box bundled with CTH's exclusive content is an example in this regard. This kind of box can also work with any kind of satellite dish.

In addition, the price of this box includes the annual membership fee to access exclusive TV programmes, including live telecasts of the new EPL season.

Early this week, the company announced a partnership with PSI Holding to launch a conditional-access satellite adapter, called a "PSI Plug-in". PSI customers who purchase this adapter and insert it into a slot in their old-version set-top boxes for satellite TV signal encryption can enjoy watching 380 live EPL matches in the coming season.

"I would like to say that offering prepaid service is our key strategy, not post-paid or payments on a monthly basis," Chirdsak said.

He said he believed that customer behaviour in the pay-TV business was similar to that in the telecom business, where people prefer prepaid service to post-paid. So the company expects only 20-30 per cent of its new customers to choose the post-paid option.

Previously CTH implemented a single billing system for its monthly members via its local cable-TV partners, but it did not work well because of some difficulties.

With its estimated 3.8 million new customers, the company believes its revenue will hit Bt7 billion this year.



CTH sales targets

By the end on this year, CTH expects to have lured more than 3.8 million new customers through its own distribution channels and its business partners in various sectors ranging from cable, satellite TV, iPTV and mobile to Web-based portals.

Distribution channel current base (million) target (million) total (million)

CTH 0.3 0.4-0.5 0.7-0.8

PSI Holdings (n/a) 0.8-1.2 0.8-1.2

GMM Z Pay TV 0.04 0.5-0.6 0.54-0.64

Unnamed set-top boxes (n/a) 0.3 0.3

My World (iPTV) (n/a) 0.1 0.1

AIS, DTAC (mobile operators) (n/a) 1 1

SIS, TWZ (IT retailers) (n/a) 0.2 0.2

Sanook.com (Web-based portal) (n/a) 0.5 0.5

Grand total 0.34 3.8-4.4 4.14-4.74

Source: CTH


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