Non-profit rule forces MCOT to drop terrestrial channel plan
MCOT, the operator of Modernine TV, has had to drop its plan to acquire a permit to operate a public digital terrestrial TV channel because of unfavourable regulations.
However, MCOT's plan to bid for three commercial licences to operate channels for children/family, news/information and general programmes remains unchanged. As well, it wants to have an operating licence for a high-definition channel.
According to National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission regulations, the operator of a public digital terrestrial TV channel is not allowed to make a profit, but may earn just enough revenue to run the business. This might have been a problem for the listed MCOT.
Executive vice president Sura Gaintanasilp said his company initially planned to work as a master content-management company for public agencies and ministries that want to run public channels. The ministries of Interior Affairs, Public Health and Education, Parliament, and universities are examples of those planning to become public TV broadcasters.
Though it was not feasible for MCOT to obtain a permit for public TV because of the regulations, this provides a business opportunity for the company to provide content-management services for new public broadcasters.
"MCOT has strength in such management as it has been in the industry for more than 45 years," Sura said. "We strongly believe that our high experience and expertise can help those new broadcasters start their public TV stations."
Among its three commercial digital terrestrial TV channels, the news/information channel will be the biggest source of revenue for MCOT as it has the Thai News Agency as a powerhouse.
This news/information channel and the one offering general programming will be fully owned and operated by MCOT, while the channel for children's programmes will be open for outside content producers, the executive said.
Previously, MCOT planned to run five digital terrestrial TV channels for news, leisure and travel, children and family, sport and career programmes, and a public TV channel.
MCOT is also keen to obtain permits to provide infrastructure and network facilities, Sura said.