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Regulations drawn up for ratings agencies

Draft rules done for firms rating TV, radio shows

The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has approved the draft regulations for granting licences to TV and radio programme-rating agencies.

Broadcasting committee chairman Natee Sukonrat said the NBTC would hold a public hearing on the draft soon.

The regulations in this draft, known as application licence regulations, are expected to come into force in July.

The regulations will oblige rating agencies to apply for a licence to do ratings. The annual licence fee is 2 per cent of their total revenue.

They will also have to pay a universal service obligation fee totalling 2 per cent of their total revenue. The fee will be transferred to the NBTC's research and development fund for developing the telecom and broadcasting industries.

An NBTC source said that the body would also examine rating methods and the sample of respondents being rated. Currently, Nielsen is the only TV ratings agency in Thailand.

The application regulations cover three types of businesses: TV ratings, direct TV shopping businesses and SMS voting on TV, and multimedia businesses such as video on demand.

The watchdog has yet to draw up regulations to govern the latter two categories.

The NBTC source added that the watchdog had to focus on ratings regulations first, given that ratings are a key tool for the 24 commercial digital TV channel operators to seek advertising.

Application regulations are one of four key regulations the committee has executed to regulate the industry.

The other three are the terrestrial digital TV broadcasting network operation, the terrestrial digital TV channel operation, and the terrestrial digital TV facility operation.

Most of the digital TV channel operators are confident that they will be able to become profitable in the near future, due to the huge sum spent on TV advertising each year - around Bt70 billion.

The NBTC is expected to start giving away vouchers to some 11 million households in July for them to buy set-top boxes and antennas for viewing digital TV channels.

The committee has approved Bt1,000 vouchers but is waiting for final approval from the board of the Broadcasting and Telecommuni-cations Research and Development Fund for the Public Interest, which meets on Tuesday, and the NBTC board, which meets on May 12.


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