To prevent a price war due to an oversupply of digital television channels, the Federation of Radio and Television Professionals, media agencies and broadcasters yesterday agreed to set standard advertising rates to ensure a level playing field.
Chamnan Siritan Nunbhakdi, president of the federation, said all parties appeared to come to the same conclusion, that the standard advertising rates for a high-definition digital variety channel should be about half the average rates currently offered by analog TV broadcasters. The rates for a standard-definition digital variety channel should be 25 per cent lower than the rates for an HD channel.
Meanwhile, digital news channels should use similar rates to those now offered by leading news stations such as Nation TV, Spring News TV and TNN 24.
Apart from ad rates, the newly licensed broadcasters wanted to know the exact date for the commercial launch of digital terrestrial TV service so that they can sell airtime slots to their advertisers.
“Is it possible to do that commercially during the trial period, from April to May, or [must we] wait for the official [launch] date?” Chamnan asked.
She also wondered what the date of issue for digital TV licences should be.
The federation members will convene with the broadcasting committee at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission tomorrow for clearer details on these issues.
On the issue of ad rates, some of the new broadcasters expressed concern that a standardised price range might be a means to protect existing analog players.
Advertising agencies also insisted that it was very important to know the audience rating of each TV programme before deciding to invest in it.
Triluj Navamarat, vice president of the Media Agency Association of Thailand, suggested that new players should offer an average advertising rate of Bt37,000 per minute if the programme were able to take a 1-per-cent share of the total market. If they gained a higher audience share, they could ask for higher rates with discounts or providing value-added services like tie-in advertisements.
However, it appears the advertising rates offered by the 24 new digital terrestrial TV broadcasters will be quite a bit lower than those of the current analog free-TV operators.
According to the federation, the analog operators offer different advertising rates depending on the airtime slots. During weekdays’ morning prime time from 7am to 11am, Channel 3 offers ad rates between Bt150,000 and Bt180,000 per minute. Channel 5 offers Bt150,000 per minute; Channel 7 offers Bt120,000; and Channel 9 (Modernine TV) offers Bt130,000.
In the evening prime time from 7pm to 10pm, Channel 3 and Channel 5 each offer Bt480,000 per minute, while Channel 7 offers Bt500,000 and Channel 9 Bt380,000.
For late-night prime time from 10pm to 11pm, Channel 3 offers rates between Bt330,000 and Bt430,000 per minute; Channel 5 offers Bt380,000; Channel 7 offers Bt360,000-Bt390,000 per minute; and Channel 9 offers rates from Bt300,000 to Bt320,000 per minute.