A MAJOR cable-TV operator in Bangkok is seeking to negotiate with veteran investor Wichai Thongtang, chairman of CTH, as the country's leading pay-TV provider is set to revoke its service via hundreds of local cable operators, starting next week.
“About 170 local cable-TV operators along with my company were informed about this change recently,” Wichit Aurareevorakul, president of Charoen Cable TV, said yesterday. “But before that, we heard that CTH had sent letters directly to its subscribers advising that its service would no longer be available to those cable TV operators. So we need to talk with the head of CTH for further clarification.”
Wichit said CTH’s decision would have an impact on local TV subscribers, mainly upcountry, because some were operating under contracts with CTH.
After obtaining foreign content such as Barclays Premier League soccer matches, Fox channels and other entertainment programmes, CTH started providing its pay-TV service through cable lines owned |and managed by local TV operators.
Under this collaboration, CTH and each local cable operator had benefited under revenue-sharing conditions. Moreover, both CTH and local operators invested in upgrading analog cable to digital fibre lines in order to carry a large number of CTH’s channels.
“If CTH’s service is no longer, what will happen to those cable-TV operators?” Wichit asked.
After the merger between CTH and GMM Broadcasting, the operator of GMM Z pay-TV service, CTH turned its focus to extending its subscriber base through a satellite-based TV platform. GMM B is a subsidiary of the country’s leading music and entertainment company, GMM Grammy.
Wichit believes that because of this move, CTH wanted to stop collaborating with local cable-TV operators and start communicating directly with subscribers about the new service via GMM Z satellite-TV receivers.
“If CTH cannot be reached for further discussion to solve this issue, we might take this dispute to court,” he said.
CTH executives could not be reached for comment.