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New radio stations from Spring News

To expand its audience base in addition to its digital-television news channel, Spring News Television is setting out to operate two new radio stations for listeners in Bangkok and its outskirts.

Chairman Suthichai Bunnag said yesterday that his company had earmarked about Bt30 million to operate the radio stations and was in talks with a couple of frequency holders on co-production of content for them. The deals are expected to be complete soon.

The two radio stations will be run by its sister company, Spring News Multimedia, wholly owned by its parent company Solution Corner (1998), which is listed on the Market for Alternative Investment. Solution Corner established this new subsidiary on Monday with registered capital of Bt20 million.

Watanya Wongopai, vice chairman for business management, said the new subsidiary would also operate and manage new multimedia platforms such as mobile TV in taxis and office elevators. The new platforms will help Spring News TV channel distribute its content to a wider audience, particularly high-income earners in Bangkok.

This multimedia-platform strategy came after Spring News TV channel was readied for broadcast over the digital terrestrial platform. Last year, the company won a licence for a digital news channel for Bt1.3 billion at the auction conducted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

Suthichai said that over the past four years, the company had invested more than Bt2 billion, including payments for the licence and purchase of new TV production equipment. It expects to spend more money on a new head office that will house its studios, but he declined to comment on the figure.

Although the overall media industry has suffered a 9-per-cent drop in advertising spending so far this year amid uncertainty over the NBTC's free-voucher programme, Spring News still hopes that revenue in its first of year operation will be right on track.

Last year, Spring News aired on the satellite-TV platform, and generated Bt100 million income. With this 24-hour news station now on the digital terrestrial platform, the company expects to control 1 per cent of the market. As the whole market brings in Bt70 billion in TV advertising expenditure, that translates to about Bt700 million within its first year of operation.


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