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RS to broadcast popular Channel 8 on digital free-TV platform

LEADING MUSIC and entertainment firm RS will begin airing its satellite Channel 8 on digital terrestrial TV in April. The company believes it will begin to see profits from this platform in the first year of operation.

"Channel 8 is currently ranked first in terms of audience ratings among satellite TV channels and it is considered the key revenue driver for RS's broadcasting business unit," chief executive officer Surachai Chetchotisak said yesterday, adding that the firm had earmarked about Bt300 million for the new digital terrestrial channel.

Part of that investment will go into strengthening Channel 8, promoting it as Thailand's most complete digital free-TV channel in standard definition. Show times are being adjusted to appeal to the audience.

Surachai said his strategies would focus on three pillars - soap operas, variety shows and news programmes. He believes such well-rounded content will win over audiences in every group, bringing the ratings up and generating profits within the first year without any need to raise more capital, thanks to the company's solid financial background.

During the National Broadcasting and Telecommunica-tions Commission's recent auction of 24 commercial digital channels, RS Television - a subsidiary of RS - was among the seven winners of licences for SD variety channels.

Surachai said Channel 8 would be ready to take to the airwaves in April when the digital TV network is officially launched in key provinces, namely Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai and Songkhla.

The company is highly confident of the potential for its popular Channel 8 to flourish on the new digital terrestrial platform. RS says the channel stands out for its high-quality entertainment content, such as highly popular soap operas, variety programmes, news shows and Thai and international movies. It also features top talents who entertain the audience around the clock.

Meanwhile, RS has also improved its broadcasting system to enable high-definition viewing.

Initially, there will be two soap operas per week, increased from just one at the moment. The channel will revamp its variety shows to appeal to the male audience and children, since at present the majority of its viewers are women. As for news, the channel will feature all kinds, covering politics, the economy, entertainment, social issues, sports and others. The hours set aside for news will also increase by 50 per cent, to between six and seven per day, broken down into morning, midday, evening and late-night news shows, and short reports at the beginning of every hour.

This year, Channel 8 is expected to generate Bt850 million in revenue after securing long-term contracts with clients. Clients that signed contracts with Channel 8 from the beginning of the year will enjoy fixed advertising rates, while new clients will pay different rates as the situation changes.

With this in mind, RS is certain that Channel 8 will generate profit in the first year after its launch as a digital free-TV channel, Surachai said.


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