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NBTC readies Bt30m drive for digital TV in September

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has earmarked at least Bt30 million for a national campaign to promote digital terrestrial television.

The campaign will kick off in September, according to NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit.

He announced this after a meeting with representatives from the Digital TV Club, who called for nationwide public relations campaigns as soon as possible to raise awareness and understanding about digital TV, particularly after households receive coupons towards the purchase of digital receivers.

Suphab Kleekachai, the president of the club and chief adviser at ThaiTV and Loca channels, suggested that the PR campaigns should start first in locations that are already able to access the new terrestrial-based digital free-TV services, including Greater Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Songkhla and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Next month, the NBTC will give away Bt690 digital-TV coupons to each household in those locations, totalling about Bt11.5 million.

Suphab said the PR campaign would benefit both digital TV broadcasters and their audiences. The more people gain understanding about digital TV, the more coupons will be used for buying either digital set-top boxes or TV sets with built-in digital tuners. "This will boost audience ratings for digital TV stations," he said.

Adisak Limprungpatanakij, president of Nation Broadcasting Corporation, the operator of Nation TV, noted Nielsen (Thailand)'s readiness to increase its sample size to correspond with the increase in availability of digital TV. By the second quarter of next year, the sample size would become 2,200 households or approximately 7,700 individuals, up from 2,000 households or about 7,000 individuals this year.

Once there are a significant number of digital receivers in the market, broadcasters will be able to monitor their own performance in terms of audience ratings and advertising revenue. But if distribution of the vouchers is delayed, this could hurt the broadcasters' business.

However, Takorn confirmed that the distribution plan was right on track, and the NBTC expects to get the coupons printed and delivered to TV audiences as scheduled.


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