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PPTV HD operator turns to cable, satellite-TV platforms in bid to reach broader audience

Amid uncertainty over the pace of digital terrestrial-TV penetration, Bangkok Media and Broadcasting - operator of the PPTV HD channel - has turned its focus on expanding its distribution channels to the cable and satellite-TV platforms in order to reach a wider audience.

"We have reached agreements with leading cable and satellite-TV operators in order to place PPTV HD channel at channel number 6 on their platforms. These partnerships will help PPTV HD be watched and easily recognised by viewers," president Kematat Paladesh said yesterday.

PPTV HD can currently be watched on a number of channel numbers across different platforms.

For example, it appears as channel 46 on cable and satellite-TV platforms under the must-carry rule of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), while it is on channel 36 for those with digital terrestrial TV set-top boxes.

Kematat said it was not surprising, therefore, that viewers had become confused over the channel numbers for the new station.

Moreover, the Media Agency Association of Thailand found that 84 per cent of 771 participants in its digital TV survey were confused about and could not remember the channel numbers of the new digital channels, which have been available since April.

The survey was conducted from April 18 to May 2.

To make things simpler for its audience, PPTV HD now appears as channel number 6 on 500,000 Sunbox set-top boxes from this month, while the station will also appear as channel 6 on 2.5 million GMM Z boxes from next month, on 2.5 million CTH boxes from August, and on 14 million PSI Holdings boxes from September, said the company chief.

Kematat added that by year-end, PPTV HD channel expected to reach more than 90 per cent of the 23 million households around the country, mainly via cable and satellite-TV platforms as the penetration rate for digital terrestrial TV was still limited.

Given this limitation, the NBTC's distribution of free digital-TV equipment vouchers is likely to be delayed from the original plan. This might also impact on the pace of digital terrestrial-TV penetration, he said.

According to AGB Nielsen-Ariena audience-reach data, the penetration of digital terrestrial TV expanded from 2.8 per cent in March to 6.5 per cent in May, but analogue free TV and cable/satellite TV still had the lion's share of the market.

Bangkok Media and Broadcasting also aims to bring top-rated television series and variety shows from the US and South Korea in order to attract target audiences in the second half of the year. The Korean series include "Prime Minister & I", "Love in Her Bag" and "I Summon You, Gold", while the hit US series are "Scandal", "Nikita" and "Intelligence".

The company has earmarked about Bt1 billion for content production and purchasing foreign content, with 70 per cent intended for locally produced programmes.

Kematat said he might have to lower this year's income target from digital-TV business from the previous forecast of Bt700 million, due to the economic slowdown and the delayed distribution of free set-top box vouchers.


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