IPM sets sights on children's digital TV bid
IPM TV, a private satellite-television operator, has expressed interest in obtaining new licences for children's and community-based digital channels, joining large and medium-sized operators keen on participating in the auction of commercial channels.
President Manop Tokarnka said yesterday that of 120 channels in total, the company had been operating seven children's channels for its 2 million viewers for more than 10 years. Thus it is ready to bid for more commercial digital terrestrial TV channels to expand its programmes for children.
Apart from being a manufacturer and distributor of satellite TV receivers, IPM TV produces programmes for local channels, mostly in the provinces. The company wishes to obtain another licence to operate a channel for community-based service.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) plans to hold the spectrum auction for 24 commercial digital terrestrial TV channels, including five children's channels, in July and August. The starting bid price for a children's channel is expected to be lower than that for news and variety channels.
Meanwhile, the operating licences for 12 community-based TV channels are expected to be issued by the broadcasting regulator by the end of this year.
To cash in on the conversion to digital terrestrial broadcasting, IPM TV also plans to sell digital converters that can work with terrestrial and satellite signals in high definition (HD) once the NBTC gives the green light.
"I personally support the NBTC's principle to subsidise 22 million households with discount coupons for buying a new digital TV set or digital TV set-top box," Manop said.
IPM TV has also earmarked Bt1 billion for content development to broaden its appeal to new satellite-TV viewers. Next year, it plans to increase the number of channels to 300 in standard definition and 40 in HD.