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Media hit as ads dwindle

Media and entertainment companies are thrilled with their new digital terrestrial TV channels, but their first-quarter results still showed effects from the crippled economy.

The advertising industry has suffered from several months of political unrest, as many corporations have cut or suspended their advertising budgets.

MCOT, which secured two channels - one for high-definition (HD) variety and the other for family programmes - reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Tuesday that its net profit decreased by 49.6 per cent to Bt189 million from Bt375 million in the first quarter of last year.

TV revenue, its major source of income, dropped from Bt774 million to Bt618 million. TV advertising decreased 7 per cent as many companies slashed spending on public relations because of political factors and the economic slowdown.

The government's hands have been tied, so it cannot launch policies to boost the economy.

MCOT also suffered a 22-per-cent decline in ad revenue from both self-produced and time-sharing programmes, partly because they were not well received by viewers. Modernine TV's average ratings slipped. The state media enterprise blamed the government's budget tightening for a 27-per-cent slump in revenues from public relations projects. Amarin Printing and Publishing's first-quarter revenue also fell 11.5 per cent to Bt381 million.

The company decided to increase the registered capital of Amarin Television, a subsidiary, to Bt500 million from Bt10 million by issuing 4.9 million new shares. The proceeds would be used to increase working capital after it acquired a licence to operate an HD digital variety TV station.

Although Workpoint Entertain-ment's first-quarter revenue grew 11 per cent to Bt445.2 million, thanks to its event-marketing business, revenue from television production drooped in line with the deceleration in economic expansion and TV ad spending.

RS's first-quarter revenue from sales and services edged down 3.2 per cent to Bt696 million.

Both Workpoint and RS operate a standard-definition digital variety TV station. Post Publishing showed a first-quarter loss of Bt26.4 million against a Bt27.8 million profit last year. Its business advertising revenue declined 19.6 per cent from Bt336.2 million to Bt294.4 million. It produces news programmes that account for 25 per cent of all time slots at THV, run by the publisher of TV Pool magazine.

According to Nielsen (Thailand), ad expenditures last quarter dropped 6 per cent to Bt24.68 billion from Bt26.48 billion in the first quarter of last year. TV ad spending declined 7 per cent while newspaper adverts dived 21 per cent to Bt2.97 billion from Bt3.5 billion.


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