ALL DIGITAL TV broadcasters will have to pay the third instalment of the upfront licence fees before the deadline set for next Monday, the broadcasting regulator warned, saying there was no option of delaying the payment.
Recently, seven of 22 existing digital TV operators submitted a letter to the junta seeking relief, by allowing them to defer the payment of the third instalment of the upfront licence fee, but there has been no response so far.
Yesterday, Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the Broadcasting Committee at the National Broadcasting and Telecommuni-cations Commission (NBTC), held an urgent conference to confirm that all digital TV licensees must comply with the broadcasting regulation by paying the third instalment of the licence fees within the set deadline.
“If any of them fails to show up by next Monday, the NBTC has to issue collection letters to order them to pay those fees with an annual interest rate of 7.5 per cent within a centain period perscribed by the committee,” Natee said.
In this round, the NBTC expects to receive total revenue of about Bt9.26 billion inclusive of value-added tax, paid by 24 terrestrial-based digital TV broadcasters. Of total figures, about Bt3.94 billion will be from seven digital TV licensees under high-definition (HD) variety category; around Bt3.19 billion from seven digital TV licensees under standard-definition (SD) variety category; approximately Bt1.81 billion from seven digital TV licensees under SD news category and the rest of about Bt377 million will come from three family channels.
Early this year, the NBTC had revoked Thai TV Co’s two digital licences – a news channel and a family category – after it refused to pay the second instalment of upfront licence fee last year. However, Bangkok Bank, the financial guarantor of Thai TV Co paid the amount on behalf of its clients.
Bangkok Bank is reported to have taken the responsibility for the new round of payment for its client as well. According to the NBTC, Thai TV has to pay a total of Bt384.344 million for the third instalment of licence fees. Of the total amount, Bt260.651 million will be for its news channel while the remaining Bt123.692 million will be for its family channel.
So far, Mono Broadcast, the operator of Mono 29 digital television channel, has already paid the third instalment of the upfront licence fee, totalling Bt440.84 million inclusive of the value-added tax, to the broadcasting regulator.
Mono 29 became the second digital TV licencee to make the payment after Bangkok Broadcasting and Television, the operator of Channel 7HD in the digital terrestrial TV system, paid Bt559.61 million last week.
Speaking on behalf of BEC-Multimedia, a digital TV licensee, Surin Krittiyaphongphun, the executive vice president of Bangkok Entertainment Company, operator of Channel 3 analog, said BEC-Multimedia will certainly be making the payment before the deadline.