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Channel 8 'should garner Bt850m revenue'

Music and entertainment company RS expects that its digital Channel 8 will generate income of Bt850 million this year, partly fuelled by the broadcasting rights to the Fifa World Cup.

"Only one week after the tournament kicked off, the audience is already hooked to this channel, resulting in 300-per-cent growth in terms of viewership," Ongart Singlamphong, executive vice president of RS Channel 8, said yesterday.

Channel 8 is the main broadcaster of the 56 matches and one-hour previews before each game begins. Four other sports programmes have also been included in its line-up, although it never had sport content in the past, in order to target the male audience aged above 18.

Even after the World Cup is finished, the channel will continue to produce other sport programmes such as boxing matches to keep its audience. Japanese cartoons, Asian movies and Chinese blockbusters are lined up to help the channel reach a wider audience.

RS says advertising revenue is back in its full swing, while Channel 8 is growing faster than expected thanks to the World Cup.

The company is drafting plans to target a mass audience based on in-depth understanding of what its target viewers want. The goal is for the channel's brand to be instantly recognised in every programme. The content will be a mix of news, variety shows, dramas and sports.

RS is confident that by the end of the year, Bt850 million will have been generated by Channel 8. Recently, the channel doubled its advertising fees in line with high ratings.

Ongart acknowledged that the competition in the digital TV industry would be quite fierce, as seen in the reduction of advertising fees and tie-in adverts as a part of a package. For example, commercials for analog TV are bought together with those for digital TV, or satellite TV with digital. It is expected that advertising revenue in the second half of the year will grow, and there are already signs of improvement, he said.

The second phase of Channel 8's revamp will see its news content increase to six hours daily from three hours, or 25 per cent of total airtime. Variety-entertainment content will also increase to 70 hours a week from 50 hours, or 40 per cent of total airtime. In the second half, there will be five new dramas targeting viewers aged between 15 and 50 years.

Channel 8 has adjusted its advertising fees effective from this month. The new fees are between Bt20,000 and Bt200,000 per minute from Bt10,000-Bt120,000 formerly.


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