True Visions Group, the country’s largest pay TV operator, has decided to rearrange its digital TV channels after the Songkran holidays - clearly missing today’s deadline set by the broadcasting regulator.
“We have been informed by the country’s largest subscription-based TV operator that it will take an opportunity during Songkran festival to upgrade its media platform as well as re-arrange digital TV channel numbers in accordance with the NBTC’s [National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission] rules on digital TV channel numbering across media platforms,” Sombat Leelapata, acting deputy secretary- general of the NBTC, told The Nation recently.
True Visions will soon allocate all digital channels to the 1 to 36 slots on its cable and satellite system, which means that 3.1 million subscribers can watch digital TV channels under the same standard as other media platforms. These channels are currently in the 11 to 46 slots.
In response to the operator’s failure to meet the deadline, Supinya Klangnarong, member of NBTC’s Broadcasting Committee, recently tweeted that she might propose a tougher punishment for such delays, ranging from higher fines to the suspension of broadcasting licences. However, since her panel will not be meeting until after Songkran, no action is expected to be taken against True Visions as such.
The pay-TV operator will, however, continue being fined daily until it rearranges its digital channels in accordance with the watchdog’s rules, Sombat said.
“As the broadcasting regulator, we have enforce the law in this case until the switchover is up and ready,” he said.
True Visions has been fined daily since early this year, when it insisted on reserving numbers 11 to 46 for the digital channels, which was in clear violation of the NBTC’s rule.
From January 7 to February 2, it was fined Bt20,000 daily, which rose to Bt50,000 after that. It was also hit with a one-off Bt1 million penalty.
Meanwhile, despite agreeing to switch the slots, the company says it finds the order unfair and has reserved the right to legally protect its interests and seek compensation for any damages this change has incurred.