Meet ahead of digital era
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission sub-panel overseeing the transition to digital terrestrial television will today hold talks with 13 leading content producers who have high potential to bid in the coming spectrum auction for commercial broadcasting.
"We have only invited 13 content providers, including Nation Multimedia Group, Voice TV, Thai Rath, RS, Workpoint Entertainment, GMM Grammy, Daily News, JSL Global Media and Kantana Group, but not the six existing TV broadcasters," Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said yesterday.
This focus group aims to welcome ideas and opinions from these potential players to find the best way to avoid media domination and open more doors for new TV operators in the industry once digital terrestrial TV is in place.
The NBTC will propose two options. The first is that each TV broadcaster will be allowed to operate a maximum of two channels for children's and variety programmes. The other option is that each broadcaster will be allowed a maximum of three channels for children's, news and variety programmes.
Last week, the NBTC's sub-panel on TV broadcasting competition chaired by commissioner Thawatchai Jitpanant organised a similar focus group with the six existing TV broadcasters and major content producers. However, no conclusion was reached on this matter.
After today's focus group, the NBTC will compile the opinions of the 13 content providers with those heard by the competition subcommittee last week into an information memorandum. "This memorandum will be delivered to potential bidders in March," Natee said.
He said the broadcasting committee had approved the regulations on the licensing process for commercial broadcasting via digital terrestrial TV.
Bidders for spectrum access must comply with the government-mandated electronic-auction process. Before each round of the auction, the NBTC must ensure that the number of bidders exceeds the available number of digital TV channels.
For example, the commission has reserved five channels for news and information programmes, so there must be at least six bidders .
The NBTC has also reserved 24 channels for commercial purpose. Of those, five standard-definition channels will be kept for children's and family programming and five SD channels for news. The remaining 14 variety channels will be 10 SD and four high-definition services.
March: Public hearing on draft rules on spectrum auction for commercial digital broadcasting
Rules on the bidding for commercial channels to be announced and an information memorandum delivered to potential bidders
April: Licences of network providers issued
May: Licences for public digital terrestrial TV broadcasting to be issued
July-August: Spectrum auction for commercial digital TV broadcasting to be kicked off
Source: NBTC, as of February 4