Mixed responses to limit on channels

Economy February 02, 2013 00:00

By Watchiraaront Thongtep
The Na

TV broadcasting industry express mixed opinion on maximum channels that TV operator can hold in the focus group yesterday organised by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).


The NBTC's proposal on maximum channels to be obtained by a TV broadcaster aims to control media domination and open more door for new TV operators entering into the industry once digital terrestrial TV broadcasting service is put in place.
In the focus group, the NBTC proposed two options in this matter. The first option is that each TV broadcaster will be allowed to operate maximum two channels only for kid and variety programmes. The other option is that each TV broadcaster is able to run maximum three channels for kid, news and variety programmes.
However, representatives from major free-TV operators, associations of cable and satellite TV business and leading content providers said that they were confused why the NBTC allowed a commercial TV broadcaster was able to operate only two channels for kid and variety programmes, but not for variety and news programmes.  
Thawatchai Jitpanant, the NBTC commissioner and chairman of subcommittee on TV broadcasting competition, explained that such TV broadcaster operating both news and variety channels possibly created brain domination in soci?ety. 
MCOT executive vice president Sura Gaintanasilp sug?gested that maximum channels to be run by commercial dig?ital terrestrial TV operator should be more flexible. 
"First option is acceptable," Sura added. 
But if there were available commercial TV channels after the spectrum auction complete, those TV broadcasters which already had two licences of commercial digital TV channels should have right to join another auction and hold another licence. 
However, Nation Broadcasting Corp Adisak Limprungpatanakij said that he could not make any deci?sion on the process as important information related to the spectrum auction to operate digital TV channels such as starting bid prices, cost of network leasing and subsidy scheme for customers remained unclear. 
The subcommittee on TV broadcasting competition will conclude the ideas and opinions from the industry and report to the NBTC's broadcasting committee by end of this month. This information will be a key part to determine the quali?fication of potential bidders in spectrum auction of coming digital terrestrial TV channels. 
Additionally, the NBTC reserved 24 channels for com?mercial purpose. Of those channels, five standard definition (SD) will be spared for kid and family programme and other five SD for news programme. The remaining 14 variety chan?nels will be divided into 10 SD and 4 high definition serv?ice.