MCOT earmarks Bt3 bn for new digital network
4-way consortium mulled for management
MCOT is prepared to invest Bt3 billion on a new network for digital terrestrial TV after licences are issued this year.
The state media enterprise plans to form a consortium with TOT, Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) and the Public Relations Department to manage a single network for digital TV operators.
Chief financial officer Jessada Promjart said yesterday that under this entity, state enterprises and government agencies could share revenue from this service.
MCOT and its partners cannot form a formal organisation or joint venture because of various legal limitations. Its partners will also obtain their own individual licences for digital TV infrastructure and networks.
"So a consortium is our answer," he said.
Sura Gaintanasilp, an executive vice president, said MCOT could reduce its investment by using the network with others.
The Bt3-billion budget would be spent over four years to expand coverage of digital TV to 95 per cent of the country.
MCOT will soon propose to the Army, the operator of TV5, that it join the consortium.
To promote digital terrestrial TV in line with the ongoing six-month trial by public television stations, MCOT will host an exhibition and conference to educate parties and people about the technology and production.
The event, featuring seminars with experts from Europe and leading broadcasters in Asia, will be held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre on April 9.
MCOT's Modernine TV, which ranks third with 31 per cent of total advertising spending in the broadcasting industry, seems to be facing a big challenge once the 24 commercial digital terrestrial TV channels are up and running.
MCOT plans to join the auction for two digital TV licences for variety and children's programmes or for news and children's programmes.
"Although Modernine TV could be affected from this change in the media landscape, we already have a plan to spread risk," Jessada said.
Besides network leasing and advertising on new digital TV channels, MCOT will boost revenue by adding satellite TV channels to its two existing channels - MCOT 1 and MCOT World. That would increase its viewers.
MCOT sees potential in public digital TV, so it plans to work as a master content-management company for public agencies, ministries such as Interior, Public Health and Education, Parliament, and universities that are planning to become public TV broadcasters.
MCOT is also seeking non-broadcasting revenue, focusing on organising events for corporate clients.
Yesterday, the company reported an increase of 12 per cent in revenue to Bt5.94 billion last year, of which Bt3.86 billion came from the TV business and Bt942 million from radio.
This year, it targets Bt6.5 billion in revenue, mainly driven by its TV business. It plans to raise airtime rates by 5 per cent on average this year.