TrueVisions, the country's largest pay-TV operator, foresees high-income earners continuing to spend on pay-TV service to complement offerings from the 24 digital terrestrial TV channels now available in the Kingdom.
"It is undeniable that the arrival of those new free-to-air digital-TV channels is creating intense competition in pay-TV business, but the greatest impact is likely to be seen in the mass tier, not in the premium one, which is where TrueVisions’ stronghold is," Attaphon Na Bangxang, vice president for programmes and content at the company, said yesterday.
The executive of the 20-year-old subscription-based TV operator said that although the industry had passed through a period of uncertainty due to political and economic problems in first half of the year, TrueVisions had enjoyed 50-per-cent quarter-on-quarter growth in the April-June period in terms of new subscribers, partly driven by the live telecast of the Fifa World Cup finals.
TrueVisions currently has about 700,000 subscribers from its 2 million boxes deployed in the market. Of that figure, some 200,000 are premium customers of its Gold and Platinum packages.
Attaphon said that by end of this year, the company expected to see a 30-per-cent increase in its number of subscribers, particularly in the premium segment.
Those high-end customers will continue to invest in pay-TV service in order to gain a different experience from the offerings available from the new digital-TV channels, he said.
"Making our services and content different is key for TrueVisions," he stressed.
The company offers more than 200 exclusive channels, including 50 in high definition. The number of HD channels will increase to 53 by end of the year.
Since he joined the market leader in pay TV, Attaphon said the company had created a "cornerstone of relationship" with leading international media powerhouses – namely HBO, RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network, and Fox International Channels – which had enabled it to secure unique quality content covering entertainment, knowledge, sports, news and information.
The company earmarks about Bt3 billion to Bt4 billion yearly for acquiring foreign content.
Building on the strong relationship with foreign content providers, TrueVisions and RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network yesterday jointly launched a new channel – RTL CBS Extreme HD – following on from the introduction of the RTL CBS Entertainment HD channel last year.
"We have a great relationship at all levels with TrueVisions," said Jonas Engwall, chief executive officer at RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network.
Engwall said he still believed in the potential of the Thai pay-TV market, particularly among premium customers.
Both channels from RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network are available only for TrueVisions’ Gold and Platinum customers.