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Tycoon's In Channel takes to the airways this week

The cable- and satellite- TV industry is being shaken up once again as Prasert Prasartthong-Osoth, one of the country's top tycoons and the boss of Bangkok Airways and Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, turns his focus on the sector with the upcoming launch of In Channel.

"The idea was ignited by the vision of Prasert, who wished to create an English-language TV channel to promote Thailand as a tourism and healthcare destination," ML Nandhika Varavan, managing director of THN Network, who also serves as vice president corporate communications at Bangkok Airways, said yesterday.

Nandhika said the head of Bangkok Airways had earmarked a personal investment of Bt150 million for programme production, building new studios and the purchase of imported content for the new station.

Apart from strong financial support, THN Network also has highly experienced executives and professionals in Kulpong "Byrd" Bunnag, a veteran show business executive, and Asda "Utt" Panichkul, a popular former host of MTV Asia.

In the first phase, In Channel will makes its cable-TV debut on Friday, providing a variety of shows covering travel, health, news updates and entertainment, all in English, on TrueVisions channel 90.

Entertainment content will account for 70 per cent of the channel's airtime slot, with the remainder for news programmes. Seventy per cent of entertainment programming will be imported content, while the rest will be produced by THN Network.

After a full launch next year, the level of the channel's own-produced shows will increase to 50 per cent, Nandhika said, adding that the main revenue will be from advertising and sponsorship.

She expects that within two years, the channel will earn sufficient income to cover monthly expenses.

THN Network also aims to broadcast In Channel programmes via satellite-TV signal on Thaicom5 or 6, if a transponder is available, in the middle of next year.

This would broaden its target audience to the region, from the initial target of Thais and expatriates in the Kingdom, she said.

Prasert, aged 79, was ranked as the ninth-wealthiest person in "Thailand's top 40 Richest 2012" by Forbes magazine.

He founded the Bangkok Dusit Medical Services private hospital group, which comprises Bangkok Hospital Group, Samitivej Group, Phyathai Group and Paolo Memorial Hospital Group.

BDMS also invests in other hospitals, including Bumrungrad International and Ramkamhaeng Hospital.

Prasert also founded Bangkok Airways, the major regional carrier.


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