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CTH to drop some cable-TV partners in move towards satellite broadcasting

Chirdsak

Chirdsak

Pay-TV operator CTH will dismiss some of its local cable-television partners as it focuses more on satellite-TV operators to expand its subscriber base.

"As we find some difficulties in branching out our network via local cable operators, we plan to reduce our local cable-TV partners to about 100 operators from 170 now," Chirdsak Kukiattinun, chairman of the CTH executive committee, said yesterday.

Chirdsak, who became chairman last month, said the company wanted to make sure that its remaining cable-TV partners would be ready to collaborate with it on a digital cable network in the future.

CTH wants to broaden its customer base to 3 million subscribers by the end of this year, from only around 500,000 now.

The company has partnered with PSI Holding, the country's largest satellite-TV operator, to bundle its set-top boxes with key content including live broadcasts from CTH of English Premier League (EPL) soccer matches. Last week, CTH formed another partnership with GMM Z, a satellite-TV unit of GMM Grammy, on a co-marketing deal to sell EPL packages via GMM Z's subscriber base.

Chirdsak said PSI would help CTH reach more than 14 million satellite-TV households. Under this partnership, the company will offer three packages at monthly fees of Bt270, Bt450 and Bt750.

GMM Z will also help CTH get access to mass premium customers by offering a Bt999 monthly package.

After these changes in strategy, the plan for CTH to introduce a triple-play service might be postponed to next year. It was originally scheduled to begin in the middle of this year.

"I saw some problems in the previous plan, so I needed to plug those holes," he said. "Satellite-TV platforms will be a springboard to win in this fierce competition."

To capitalise on the birth of digital terrestrial television this year, the company plans to extend its EPL subleasing rights for next season to other broadcasters, in addition to the current subleasing-rights holder MCOT.

CTH has reported that it has 500,000 subscribers, one-third on satellite TV platforms and the rest on the cable network. By end of this year, the subscription base is expected to grow to 3 million. Of that total, 2 million will be viewing satellite TV and the rest cable.

Chirdsak was formerly chairman of International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), one of the country's first cable-TV operators. He has a strong background in the telecommunications and real-estate businesses.


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