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PSI, CTH collaborate on low cost EPL packages

To stimulate demand, PSI Holdings, the country's largest producer and distributor of satellite TV receivers, is cooperating with pay-TV operator CTH to offer affordable packages to watch live telecasts of English Premier League (EPL) soccer matches.

"The slow demand is due to two key factors. The first is the sluggish economy and the other is that some households are waiting for the Bt690 digital-TV vouchers to be given out by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission," Somporn Teerachanapong, chief executive officer of PSI Holdings, said yesterday.

He said PSI had deployed 14 million satellite TV set-top boxes in the market. Of that figure, about 10 million are old versions that cannot work with the conditional access system.

PSI believes that this group needs this type of set-top box to watch free-to-air channels. So they are waiting for the coupons from the NBTC towards purchase of a digital set-top box or a TV set with a built-in digital tuner. The coupons are expected to be distributed by mid-September.

Under this partnership with CTH, PSI Holdings offers a conditional-access satellite adapter, called a "PSI Plug-in", so customers can watch 380 live EPL matches in the coming season.

Somporn said customer would need to pay Bt2,499 a year for the EPL package and insert this special adapter into a slot in the old-version set-top box to encrypt the satellite signal carrying EPL content.

Once they have this special adapter, customers can also get a package costing Bt1,500 a year if they want to watch entertainment programmes from CTH.

Besides bundling CTH's content with the PSI Plug-in adapter, the company offers CTH-PSI packages through other types of PSI set-top boxes such as high-definition boxes.

Somporn targets sales of 1 million PSI Plug-in adapters.

He noted that many of PSI's customers were price-sensitive, and it was difficult to persuade them to upgrade their old boxes to HD models.

But he hopes that the special plug-in adapter will create new demand and boost this year's sales.

The company aims to sell 5 million new satellite-TV set-top boxes by the end of this year, once people get their free vouchers from the NBTC, some will use them to buy digital terrestrial boxes instead of satellite receivers.

Of the new units sold this year, 2 million are expected to be HD boxes and 3 million standard-definition units, generating more than Bt2 billion in income.

By partnering with PSI Holdings, Chirdsak Kukiattinun, chairman of the CTH executive committee, said his company would gain more than 2 million subscribers from the PSI platform by the end of this year.


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